Links 2/23/19

Heroic bystanders rescue dog from ice – but discover animal is actually a WOLF Mirror (Kevin W)

Why We Think Cats Are Psychopaths Atlantic (resilc)

Botswana mulls lifting elephant hunting ban BBC

Apple To Close Retail Stores In the Patent Troll-Favored Eastern District of Texas TechCrunch

How Google, Microsoft, and Big Tech Are Automating the Climate Crisis Gizmodo (martha r)


Full steam ahead for China-Myanmar high-speed railway Asia Times (resilc)

China Sticks Up For Iran As Geopolitical Pressure Mounts OilPrice

Vietnam Summit’s Key Question: Will North Korea Denuclearize? Atlantic


Theresa May must go in three months, cabinet ministers say Guardian. Not holding my breath.

Brexit: Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke issue delay warning BBC

A blip or a sea change? Chris Grey

Brexit: a license to lie Richard North

Government ‘May Have Relied On Google Maps’ To Draw Up No-Deal Brexit Port Plans Huffington Post (Kevin W)

The British public is disconnected from the reality of Brexit Irish Times

February the 22nd Gilets jaunes SITREP The Saker (Chuck L)


Anyone Buying This Venezuela Bullshit Is A Complete Fucking Moron Caitlin Johnstone


An Honest Living by Steve Salaita USACBI

Israeli PM Netanyahu partners with Kahanist Terrorist Elements, seeking another Term Juan Cole (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Nike’s new app-connected shoes reportedly fail after faulty update Mashable (EM). Don’t get me started….

Imperial Collapse Watch

America: ‘Indispensable Nation’ No More American Conservative

Sanders’s Two-Pronged Attack on American Exceptionalism New York Magazine

Trump Transition

Trump steps up attack on Planned Parenthood The Hill

Trump’s National Emergency Policy Is Unpopular, But Not Really Unpopular FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Who Was Behind the Plan to Give Saudi Arabia Nuclear Power, and What Was Their Agenda? — “Trump, Inc.” Extra ProPublica (resilc)

Documents detail multimillion-dollar ties involving EPA official, secretive industry group Politico (Chuck L)

Trump selects Kelly Craft for United Nations ambassador The Hill

The Government’s Trillion-Dollar Student Loan Office Is a Train Wreck Rolling Stone (resilc). The headline is no exaggeration.

American Democracy Is on the Supreme Court Docket New Republic (resilc)

Green New Deal

The Green New Deal’s Five Freedoms Jacobin (martha r). From earlier in the month, still germane.

Green New Deal is feasible and affordable Jeffrey Sachs, CNN (martha r)


Dems to use democratic socialist label against Sanders The Hill

“Socialism” Has Lost All Meaning in American Politics New Republic

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Afraid of the Democrats Nation

Beto O’Rouke Wants You to Think He’s Latino—When It’s Helpful, That Is Daily Beast (resilc)

Fake News

New York Times Provides Cover for Austerity Cranks FAIR (furzy)

YouTube Is Heading For Its Cambridge Analytica Moment CNBC

YouTube’s pedophilia problem: more than 400 channels deleted as advertisers flee over child predators – Mashable (Kevin W)

Someone at the Sacramento Bee is on the ball regarding CalPERS. While SFGate picked up on the American Media story, the Bee has otherwise not deigned to notice:

Experts Find Serious Problems With Switzerland’s Online Voting System Motherboard. Paging CalPERS…

Acid Spill on Vehicles Near Glencore Mine Kills 18 People Bloomberg (UserFriendly). Horrible.

Microsoft staff: Do not use HoloLens for war BBC (David L)

Trump: Amazon’s decision to pull HQ2 is ‘a big loss for New York City’ CNBC

Mega-Universities Are On the Rise. They Could Reshape Higher Ed as We Know It. Chronicle of Higher Education (resilc)

Ex-Citigroup President Havens Caught in Prostitution Probe Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “Shoot me if THIS is what puts the God damn bankers in jail.” Moi: Remember that this is precisely where Eliot Spitzer recommended starting (running prostitutes and drugs through research budgets) in Inside Job.

Realtors as a Percentage of Pre-Recession Peak Barry Ritholtz (resilc)

“SHE NEVER LOOKS BACK”: INSIDE ELIZABETH HOLMES’S CHILLING FINAL MONTHS AT THERANOS Vanity Fair. Not hard to speculate that given that the $900 million Holmes raised is gone, that her lavish spending habits served to cover her having siphoned funds into “offshore” accounts, and getting cash out of the US would have been made easier by her private jet use.

Class Warfare

Al Gore admits US poverty ‘shocking’ – but warns climate crisis will make things worse Guardian (resilc)

Sex During Wartime: The return of Andrea Dworkin’s radical vision Bookforum (martha r)

Antidote du jour (MGL):

And a bonus (martha r):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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        1. polecat

          ‘Sith Lord’ …..

          …. then again, maybe necromunger is a more accurate term, considering the ongoing multi-clusterf#cks of Honduras, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria.

      1. juliania

        Twice in as far as I got, the PBS account claims that Maduro’s supporters are in the minority. How can they be in the minority when he is the elected President of the country? I realize parts of the opposition boycotted the election, but they didn’t have to. That they did only means that they were themselves a minority and did not want to be shown up as such.

        Please check out Abby Martin’s “Absence of Information” video at youtube, if it is still there. The facts and the history of the vote are well explained in that video. Also be aware that this is only the latest in a series of US manufactured coup attempts. PBS? Nah, avoid it like the plague!

        1. juliania

          Also, on the ‘minority’ issue, Moon of Alabama posted this on February 11:

          Venezuela – 57% Say Maduro Is Their Legitimate President
          The legitimacy of a ruler can best be determined by asking the ruled people.

          The independent Venezuelan polling firm Hinterlaces asked (in Spanish) 1,580 Venezuelans in direct interviews who they consider to be the legitimate president of Venezuela.

          57% said that the Nicolás Maduro is the legitimated president. 32% said Juan Guaidó. 11% did not know or did not respond.

            1. juliania

              The difference between 57% and 32% is not uncomfortably close in a poll. It is certainly true that there is a division between the well off and the not so well off in Venezuela. But if you follow the Abby Martin account, it wasn’t enough for the minority to be part of the legislature – they while having been elected to that body behaved unconstitutionally and were replaced because of that. Since then they have boycotted the election even though they would have been allowed to run. They have attempted a coup. But not only that, they have taken sustenance from the US government closing all avenues of finance to the government. I firmly believe that a poll taken today, after the coup attempt, would show support for Maduro greater than Putin has had from his people, opposition or no. That’s what happens! Who wants their country overrun and tragically destroyed? And ask, please, for what?

              Guaido invited the US to invade! What leader of the people would do such a thing?

              1. The Rev Kev

                Maybe Ahmed Chalabi from Iraq? The sob lived long enough to see ISIS take over large chunks of Iraq as an direct result of his handiwork.

        2. Harry

          The argument the opposition makes is that the electoral commission and supreme court are in the hands of the government. Of course, that just makes it like here.

          A better question, is why would anyone be surprised that the ultra poor are in the majority in a country like Venezuela.

    1. integer

      Well, I admit those articles on Omidyar are a bit of a slog to get through, but I’m a bit surprised there appears to have been so little interest. I guess there’s a lot of other interesting things going on at the moment. Anyway, I highly recommend checking them out as Omidyar is a giant in the narrative-shaping business, yet continues to fly under the radar.

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Theresa May must go in three months, cabinet ministers say ”

    This is not going to be like that Trump video that came out a few months ago is it? The one where it showed announcement after announcement that Trump is done and is just about to go as it flipped through every month for the past two years? I really think that May is dug in. She does not strike me as a David Cameron who will resign the morning after Brexit. And I think that that prediction you can take to the bank.

    1. ambrit

      Depending on which banks survive the shake-out that Brexit will cause.
      Thinking of that; this can be a classic “teachable moment.” The choice between ‘saving’ the financial class and ‘saving’ the populace of the Realm will be very clear. If the Government starts throwing money at foundering banks while ‘average’ people have to cut back to poverty level diets in England, a canny political movement can “weaponize” this into a real structural change in the political economy.
      What I wonder about, in reference to the Brexit mess is; are the people of Britain as numbed and incurious now as is the American public?

    2. Clive

      Yes, this is just taking bids off the wall. I don’t understand (although of course we do understand all-too-well…) why these stories get any kind of traction when they’re so easily disproven.

      May had her leadership of the Conservative party challenged and saw off the challenges. This means May can’t be challenged again for 12 months.

      If the Conservative rebel MPs threaten to resign their party memberships in order to vote down the government in a confidence motion (which is about the only specific action their resignations would allow that would genuinely shift something) then you’re on a legally-defined timetable for a General Election unless the now so-called “independent” MPs prop up a new Corbyn Labour administration which, given the Labour ones just flounced away from the Labour Party precisely because of Corbyn would be quite an interesting and novel development (“we’ve resigned from the Labour Party in disgust at that nasty old Corbyn and as a signal of our loathing, we’ll carry him into Downing Street”). Ha! You couldn’t make it up. The Conservative defectors would also have to be the ones who voted for a new Corbyn-led government. Nah gonna happen.

      You can see why the thing the ratty MPs who fled their respective sinking ships want to avoid at any cost is having any confidence motions. They have a binary choice — either put a Corbyn government into office or sign their own political death warrants as their constituents would inevitably turf them out as MPs. So, bizarrely, their huffing and puffing only served to patch up the Conservative party’s hold on power. Did they, you have to ask yourself, really think any of this through?

      So, assuming the “we’re still big, it’s the politics that got smaller” stomp-off-in-a-huff MPs won’t vote for Corbyn, we’re back to a snap election. Even if May were minded to resign the Conservative leadership volitionally, there wouldn’t be enough time to elect a new party leader in the two-week hiatus between a loss of the confidence motion and an election campaign beginning. So May as a minimum fights the election. If May then won a majority, it would hardly make her likely to not form a government and lead it at least for a while. If May lost, she would resign the leadership anyway. If it was some form of coalition involving the Conservatives, it would still mean May as Prime Minister, at least until her year’s guaranteed no-challenge leadership period ran out.

      Finally, having heard a lot of talk about politics being broken or some such description, especially in the last week or so, I cannot help but now reflect that, on balance, it seems to be in rude health. What politics is most definitely not doing is to deliver, all nicely gift-wrapped with a pretty bow on it, any particular pet outcome. It won’t guarantee Remain, or a second referendum or May’s deal getting passed or No Deal being either taken off the table or left still on the table. But it will result in what the political system decided — either by arriving at a broad agreement or by a failure to arrive at a broad agreement — to do.

      1. Oregoncharles

        ” This means May can’t be challenged again for 12 months. ” So, not really a parliamentary gov’t, in which the PM serves at the pleasure of parliament. Or to be precise, a severely qualified one. For a year, she’s President.

        So politics isn’t “broken,” just severely dysfunctional. Which, as an American, I know all about.

        1. JBird4049

          Just like oregoncharles I am an American, so I really should not belabor this as the federal government is more a joke everyday; the British government is going to probably blow up the economy and hope that they are not politically, if not actually, lynched en masse? I suppose that a plan of some kind. I guess.

          The United States has always been an autarky in food and probably most basic materials, but I think that Great Britain hasn’t been one since at least the middle of the 19th Century. The government does realize that?

          The single most important thing a government does is ensure the food supply, then fuel. Everything else is just noise.

          That is probably why civilization developed at all. The management of the water system and the crops. The Ancien Regime didn’t…

          This is in any textbook on Western (and Eastern) civilization; unlike those kingdoms and empires that fell because of crop failures caused by acts of God, the government has had all the time and resources to ensure that everything goes well.

          Enough babbling. I just hope that things work out.

    3. Matthew G. Saroff

      Theresa May won’t be gone in 3 months because she has made such a total dogs breakfast of Brexit that no one wants her job.

  2. Anonymous2

    Brexit : two political pundits on BBC Radio 4 this morning from the Sun and Guardian said that there is talk of further defections from the two major parties in the next two weeks. Unless I misheard, the suggestion was another 30 or so could leave Labour next week and a similar number of Tories the following week. If this happens it will of course destabilise May in a major way. What extraordinary times we are living through in the UK. Time will of course tell.

    1. Clive

      See my longer comment above. Even if that many MPs resigned their party memberships, there can only be one government and there has to be a government.

      This means they either have to back May’s existing government or back a new Corbyn government. They could try to force an election but that carries a risk of a crash out and the certainty of the MPs who resigned from their parties ending their political careers (as MPs anyway).

      1. Anonymous2

        Does it not depend how big the Independents get to be? At some point – I have not done the arithmetic – they can start to make demands of either Labour or the Tories, playing them off against each other. The DUP’s power surely diminishes with every Tory defection while at some point, if they get numerous enough, the smaller parties – Independents, SNP. LibDems, Plaid etc. – can start to offer support to May to offset the ERG refusal to support her on Brexit. In exchange for concessions to them of course.

        I do not expect it but if the Independents did get to be 70-80 strong, there could always in theory be a further, avalanche effect, drawing enough MPs away from the two ‘major’ parties to allow the Independents to become the senior partners in a coalition with Labour or the Tories.

        1. Clive

          U.K. politics does not work like that. The ERGs can just as easily threaten to not support the government if the government made moves instigated by the “independents” they didn’t approve of. Mutually assured destruction cuts both ways in a party-based parliamentary system. The “independents” or whatever they are don’t get to act like the Teasy Weasies of Westminster — forever threatening to “bring down the government”, “support Labour” “not support Labour”, “support Conservative moderates” or whatever unless their demands are met. They can threaten to scream and scream until the are sick, but unless they a) get enough MPs and then b) pull the plug on the May administration (and both are necessary) then there’re merely so much superfluous noise.

          They have one (potential — they need at least another 5 to 10 Conservative MPs) lever of power. They either have to pull it (and risk an unintended crash out and the definite end of their little sojourn plus a very uncertain General Election result) or stay completely irrelevant. Other than that, they can also put Corbyn into power. But it’s hard to see why the ex-Labour MPs would ever want to do that.

          There are no other permutations.

        2. Darthbobber

          You’re assuming that these people vote any differently now than they did when still nominal members of their parties. The ones we’ve seen so far were all frequent defectors. And the newest arrival from labor was an early Brexiteer. Common denominator for the labor independents thus far is that all but one were members of Labor Friends of Israel, and one chaired that group.

          1. flora

            Wiki reports Labour Friends of Israel has 80 Labour MP members as of August 2018 (7 fewer Labor MP members now, of course). I’m not sure how relevant the 7 MP’s membership in LFI is in relation to their bolting the party. It’s one common denominator, but not the only common denominator, imo. It’s interesting, I’m not sure it’s the only or the major importance; it might be a major importance for the 7 and of very little importance to the 70+ LFI Labour MP members who did not desert the party. imo.

            1. flora

              shorter: numbers without context give rise to the quote about ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’. ;)

      2. a different chris

        I may have to take my shoes and socks off to count, but if there are enough defections from Labor does that mean May can say byesies to the DUP and still hold power by replacing them with the “Independents”?

        The surface problem would seem to be, again if I can keep this all straight and probably can’t, is that the Independents are a Remain-minded group. But if that ship has completely sailed, then they have found an interesting route to power. I mean, if the DUP of all things, which in the otherwise scheme of things isn’t any more important than my local school council, could get their fingers so deep into London’s short and curlies over this wouldn’t somebody else want that?

        Again, sorry for wasting your time if my understanding of this is all as foreign as, well this is to me.

        1. Clive

          It’s a good question ! I’m sure May would, deep down, like nothing more than to kick the DUP to the curb. It would all depend on whether the “independents” really would want nothing to do with Labour — from what they’ve said, though, they would support Labour if Labour voted for a delay in leaving the EU. In which case, May would need the DUP’s support to counter that.

          Plus, the DUP are in a “confidence and supply” arrangement with May’s government — they help the Conservatives get their other (non-Brexit) legislation though e.g. passing a budget.

          So, May’s stuck with the DUP, regardless, I think

          1. Avidremainer

            There are a lot more Labour MPs itching to leave the party. The problem for them is that this would be the end of their careers. Careerists don’t give up their careers that easily.
            Most people forget that in the last GE the prediction from the MSM and the vast majority of Labour MPs was that May would win by 50 seats. This did not happen because Labour flooded the constituencies with volunteers to support MPs thought to be in danger. This worked in most cases. There were errors in the strategy which resulted in Labour losing seats like Mansfield but the result of the GE came as a complete shock to the MSM and most Labour MPs.
            Those MPs who saw their majorities soar, we now learn, were telling constituents that Labour could not win the election so it was safe to vote labour.
            Now those thousands of volunteers were inspired by Corbyn and organised by Momentum. They believed. Post the GE they also told the careerists that if they hadn’t spent the previous 2 years trashing Corbyn then Labour might have won.
            There is a massive feeling of betrayal among the Corbynistas. They worked their tails off for people who were actively betraying them. Shame on these careerists.

  3. Baby Gerald

    re: Acid Spill on Vehicles Near Glencore Mine Kills 18 People

    This Bloomberg article is pretty much devoid of any useful information regarding how that many people could die from a sulphuric acid spill, what a horrific end that must be, or even why copper mines need truck-sized tankers of sulphuric acid in the first place. We do learn twice in four very short paragraphs (including the second sub-head) that the truck in question was from a ‘logistics company contracted by the mine’, so we know Glencore is still cool and is passing that buck down the line. Though they mention it twice, never do they specify which ‘logistics company’ this is. I’m guessing not UPS.

    Investors in Glencore [GLEN], however, will be relieved to learn that shares jumped 2.78% to 308.85. Who knew acid death could be so profitable?

      1. Wukchumni

        I read John McPhee’s “Uncommon Carriers” a decade ago, and it clued me into the numbers game in regards to the lozenges (and color of) on the rear echelon of all commercial trucks hauling something hanky. A fine read on the logistics of transporting the most dangerous things, and how it’s accomplished.

        The most common one you’ll see is a #3-on a propane tanker, and when I glimpse an 8 or 9 ahead of me, it’s time to leave them in your wake, as there’s some really nasty ju ju going on in it’s bowels en route.

    1. diptherio

      “…why copper mines need truck-sized tankers of sulphuric acid in the first place…”

      Heap Leaching is the process of using percolating chemical solutions to leach out metals. Heap leaching is very commonly used for low-grade ore, which would otherwise not be economical to send through a milling process. Following mining, transporting, and crushing to a consistent gravel or golf ball-size, the crushed ore is piled into a heap on top of an impenetrable layer, on a slight slope. The leaching reagent (dilute sulfuric acid) is sprayed through sprinklers on top of the heap pile and allowed to trickle down through the heap, where it dissolves the copper from the ore. The resulting “pregnant” leach solution of sulfuric acid and copper sulfate is collected in a small pool.

      1. Anon

        Yes. Nevada was the birthplace of gold heap-leach mining back in the 1980’s. You can still see some of the mines from Interstate 80 in Nevada. The mining companies would purchase BLM land at $2.50 an acre and then proceed to re-contour the landscape. The process uses significant amounts of water and leaves mounds nearly impossible to revegetate.

        1. Synoia

          mounds nearly impossible to revegetate.

          I’d dispute the “nearly” part. heavy metal poisoning, which is a residue of the flow of acid-leached ore is detrimental to all organic life.

          A bit like the cyanide leached gold ore from the mines in South Africa. If you watch the “District None” movie you can see the sand mounds which are the result of leaching gold ore with cyanide. Not to mention the dialog and accents (with a few pejorative words replaced) could be verbatim conversations from the Apartheid era.

          Nothing grow there, 100 years after the mounds were created. The poisoned sand is used as a very effective weed control under “bricks on sand” paths.

      2. GF

        It is a virtuous cycle. Sulphuric acid can be “manufactured” in copper smelters that use the Outokumpu Flash Smelting method – – scroll down to Outokumpu Flash Smelting.

        The source of the sulphur is the sulphur in the coal used to heat the ore in the smelter. The sulphur gas is captured and water is introduced to make the acid in varying strengths. The liquid sulphuric acid is then transported to the mines for use in the Heap Leaching process as described above.

    2. ewmayer

      There is some very interesting and – at least in the case of copper and several other important industrial metals – commercially-viable work ongoing in the area of microorganismic bioleaching. Perhaps someone should clue the Glencore, um, top ‘brass’, in.

    3. divadab

      Smelting of sulphide copper ores produces SO2 in the stack – environmental regulations require scrubbers which convert most of the SO2 to H2SO4 which is sulphuric acid. SO I suspect the tanker of sulphuric acid was a byproduct of the scrubbing of the smelter stack.

      I worked on a copper mine audit where a tanker of sulphuric acid dumped into a salmon stream and rendered it lifeless for several miles downstream. Death by sulphuric acid is brutal and terrible and my condolences to the families of those killed.

    1. Lynne

      This makes me furious. One of the locals says, “The problem is that, in these communities, they’ve applied these cheap fixes that don’t work,” Flowers said. “And with climate change it has only gotten worse.”

      And Gore’s response is to ignore the concept that poor people should not be forced to deal with cheap fixes that don’t work, in addition to dealing with climate change.

      1. Wyoming

        And Gore’s response is to ignore the concept that poor people should not be forced to deal with cheap fixes that don’t work, in addition to dealing with climate change.

        When I read this I thought “Boy I must have really not been paying attention when reading the article. So I went back and read it again. I see no possible way to interpret what was in the article in the way you do in your quote.

        While he did say that everything they were seeing was connected to climate change – this is true.

        He also “..drew connections between poverty, ecological devastation and systemic social inequality.”

        He also said ““The problems that are visible [in Hayneville] and the solutions that would work here are integrally connected to the problems that are being seen in the world right now, and the solutions that would work right now,” Gore said, explaining why he chose to visit.”

        Also, “Gore said the area needed a systemic solution – not emergency stop-gaps like sewage trucks.

        “The cost of sending that truck out there three days a week instead of treating the asthma, cancer and other diseases that doctors suspect are so strongly related to these conditions … you add up all those costs, just on sheer economic ground alone, it would make sense to fix this and extend the sewage treatment infrastructure out there,” he said.”

        1. Lynne

          What hit me was the part that scoff quotes: “Maybe we need to treat them as environmental refugees,”

          No, we do not need to treat them as refugees! The way the US and treats refugees is criminal. We need to provide everyone proper infrastructure that does not cause additional environmental damage. He could have said that we need to fix the infrastructure and left it there. Instead, he throws out the refugee comment. Why?

          1. Wyoming

            Perhaps there is another interpretation of that statement which is more likely to be accurate?

            Environmental refuges would not necessarily be synonymous with ‘refuges’. ‘Environmental refugees’ could be those neighbors of the people described in the article who live in places like Houston, Lumberton, NC, Mexico Beach, FL and other places I have done disaster relief work in the US. We go out of our way to try and help them when disaster strikes, but we sort of ignore places like were described in the article – who are just as deserving.

            I interpreted his comment to be that if we treated them like we do disaster victims maybe we could achieve better results. I may be mistaken of course.

            But the bigger issue I see all the time is that the levels of need are far in excess of the available resources to work the problems. In NC we were working on houses which we had worked on 2 years earlier from a previous hurricane. There are entire neighborhoods in that same area which have never flooded from either hurricane Mathew (2016) or Florence (2018) due to being on high ground, but every house in those neighborhoods is in such bad shape they need to be bulldozed and new ones built. That ain’t happening. We lack the ability to repair the housing being destroyed by nature and we lack the ability to maintain housing and infrastructure on the whole also. It is easy to become incensed by this situation, but I challenge anyone to point out a solution which has any probability of being executed. So where do we actually go from here?

            1. Lynne

              I understand what you are saying. I’m thinking, though, about people like the ones who lived in toxic FEMA housing (over 100,000 families), which FEMA knew was toxic and did not disclose. For example,

              On June 16, 2006, three months after reports of the hazards surfaced and a month after a trailer resident sued the agency, a FEMA logistics expert wrote that the agency’s Office of General Counsel “has advised that we do not do testing, which would imply FEMA’s ownership of this issue.” . . .

              FEMA tested no occupied trailers after March 2006, when it initially discovered formaldehyde levels at 75 times the U.S.-recommended workplace safety threshold and relocated a south Mississippi couple expecting their second child, the documents indicate.

              In 2007, “[a]bout 66,000 households affected by Katrina remain in the trailers at issue.”

              We do not lack the ability to maintain housing and infrastructure; we lack the will to do so. We should start by not continuing to fund military interventions and boondoggles.

              1. JBird4049

                In 2007, “[a]bout 66,000 households affected by Katrina remain in the trailers at issue.”

                We do not lack the ability to maintain housing and infrastructure; we lack the will to do so. We should start by not continuing to fund military interventions and boondoggles.

                All this inaction from our “leaders” translated: Whut? Spend money on you losers? Oh please, just go die.

                1. Procopius

                  OT, but that reminds me of what Rahm actually said out loud in Chicago, when people protested against school closings. I probably don’t have the exact words, but the sense was, “25% of you losers ain’t never gonna be nothin’ so we ain’t gonna spend money on you.” I think he’s more grammatical than that.

                  1. JBird4049

                    The fact that those losers might be so because they never received the necessary education probably never occurred to him. That doesn’t stop him from taxing them.

  4. JohnM

    re: GND Five Freedoms

    they should add a sixth freedom to their shallow environmentalism: Freedom to Ignore Limits

    tragedy of the commons anyone?

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      That’s a cynical response to the goals of the GND. And it’s false. Is your goal to improve it, or do you simply disagree with its objectives? If the former, better to offer constructive critical feedback.

      I like that William Morris is cited in the Jacobin article. He was a socialist, but is actually more widely known as an innovative designer. He was the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement. It is no surprise that the core principles of A&C align with socialist ideals, and that the movement has seen a resurgence in recent years.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I like the A&C aesthetic and values and have a lot of furnishings with Morris & co patterns. I recently found a canvas “tea towel” suitable for hanging that has his well-known Strawberry Thief pattern above and below his words:


        He also advised, “Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” and I don’t think in a century and a half Marie Kondo has improved on that.

        *Apologies if that first quote is in the Jacobin piece, haven’t read it yet

      2. Darthbobber

        His essay on “useful work versus useless toil” still merits a read. I recall him coining the phrase “toiling to live that we may live to toil” in that one.

        E. P. Thompson was a big Morris fan.

  5. Lemmy Caution

    Regarding Johnstone’s article about whether people buy the Venezuela Wag the Dog B.S. or not. In some sense, it doesn’t matter because the situation has gained momentum by design.

    The U.S. regime-change operation in Venezuela is likely to enter into a new phase today as a potential lethal game of chicken plays out at several border crossings around the country.

    One flashpoint is Cucuta, Columbia, where this morning the Venezuelan National Guard fired tear gas at residents as they cleared a barricaded bridge to make way for humanitarian aid to cross over.

    The U.S. and other countries have been stockpiling supplies at Cucuta and other border locations for weeks. Today is the day that Interim President Guaido has urged an “avalanche” of citizens to swarm the border crossings and force the military to make way for the convoys of supply trucks to enter Venezuela.

    If the military stationed at the blocked border crossing remains loyal to Maduro – and so far it has – the situation may explode into new levels of violence.

    That may give the U.S. cover for even more intrusive support for Guaido, even though it seems that the Trump administration – as well as the Democratic Resistance – hardly care any more if the U.S. has cover or not for this obvious regime-change effort.

    One result of an escalation of U.S. involvement in Venezuela, however, might be a boost to Democratic primary candidate Gabbard – one of the few to clearly denounce the latest misbegotten regime-change effort. And this is where Johnstone’s question is germane. If war-weary voters see Venezuela as another ill-advised front in the endless wars and regime-change Twilight Zone we’ve been trapped in for nearly twenty years, they may rally around candidates espousing an anti-war policy.

    In any case, I hope cooler heads prevail today in Venezuela and the country finds space to solve its own political problems.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Agree. That’s why I have donated to both Sanders and Gabbard. On the issue of unjustifiable wars and the overreach of the MIC, she has been without peer. And we need to hear her voice. I hope her candidacy goes deep into the primary season, at the very least, and that she has a prominent role in the next Presidential administration.

        1. Shonde

          The DNC requires candidates to have a minimum of 65,000 unique donors in order to qualify for the debate stage.

          I have already donated to two candidates and I may donate to a third just to make sure the voice is on the debate stage.

          Hint. Hint. Give a dollar to anyone whose voice you want on that stage.

        1. Earl Erland

          A third debater, some centrist Dem stooge, would be worth the dollar, if only for comparison/contrast and the yuck (both senses of the word) factors.

          1. Rod

            true that double–heard an interview on New Yorker Radio Hour–and was hooked when he said that in a culture that equates success with monetary rewards– what exactly was the American Public expecting of a President for a quarter million dollars a year?

            It wasn’t flippant, but part of one of many Policy Reforms and ‘renewal’ plans he spoke of.
            A self funded progressive voice worth listening to.

    2. timbers

      I immediately assumed the “aid” USA wants to deliver is in fact arms and personnel for CIA funded mercenaries and terrorists for regime change. Is Murduro pointing this fact out? Not that our corporate media would allow Americans to hear that.

      1. Monty

        Yes, they paraded a load of guns at a local airport, they claimed were intercepted from an incoming flight on a “CIA linked” airline, to the media. Guess what… Nobody* cared.

        *Who can do anything about it.

        1. Briny

          Southern Air Transport? Used to watch their flights out of the Naval Air Station which is “odd” for a civilian airliner.

    3. Carolinian

      Your link isn’t very helpful re what is going on right now. Maybe more will be known soon.

      And it’s rather ironic that Trump, who claims borders are sacred and whose border control itself fired tear gas, is urging this breach. Seems like all “humanitarian” convoys are not created equal.

      1. Wukchumni

        As it’s all about the oil, maybe the usual suspex can hatch up:

        There Will Be Blood #2

        Get Guaido to play himself in a cameo, as he exerts the people to incite soldiers to shoot at them, cheering them on from a distance, viva la oilvolution!

        The first movie was based on Edward Doheny, who was as awful as portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film, and later sought to repair his image, and one of the ways was to build a large Catholic church on Figueroa in downtown-ish L.A., and wags of the era called it ‘Doheny’s Fire Escape’ so wicked was he.

          1. Wukchumni

            Grim met it’s match, yeah. I sometimes enjoy what i’d term glass-bottom-boat tours of the underside of society (Drugstore Cowboy was a classic) but it was relentless, which was the overburdened point of the portrait of a merciless man.

            We do a every other year family beach trip for 5 days @ Doheny Beach @ Dana Point, and the history of Two Years Before The Mast is right there in your face sitting on the beach looking back at the cliffs where Richard Henry Dana related that cowhides were tossed from, some of which got stuck in precarious spots, and he and the crew had to dislodge them, circa 1834.

            1. Carolinian

              Did care for that book–a classic. It’s fun to visit scenes from history or lit. There’s a book that shows Los Angeles locations where silent films were shot and what they look like now.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          “H.W., come along now…”

          PT Anderson kicked so much ass when he made “There will be blood.”

          The score and cinematography alone deserve a watch.

          1. polecat

            It was quite an interplay between two stark raving conmen. And, as you intone, it was a great film, a classic in my book !

      2. Lemmy Caution

        Marco Rubio has been tweeting all morning about the Venezuelan situation and tweeted again at about 11 AM:

        “In just a few minutes trucks with aid will head toward border with #Venezuela at numerous points.

        Here we go…”

        There are Livestreams of events unfolding at several locations, including Urena, Venezuela.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for that link. I see some fairly buff looking opposition for a country that is supposedly facing starvation…

          1. Lemmy Caution

            About all that food the U.S. is so desperate to get into Venezuela to help alleviate the suffering of its 32 million people. It currently amounts to enough to feed about 2,000 people for a month. Almost like it’s a token amount of assistance.

    4. TomT

      –Breaking News—
      Pressure on the Maduro regime increases with the announcement of a second live-aid concert on the Venezuela-Brazil border. Lin Manuel Miranda will perform songs from his new musical, Bolsonaro!, and John Bolton will share cough drops with Nancy Pelosi in a show of bipartisan unity.

        1. Alex Cox

          You should have been boycotting Virgin a long time ago!
          The vicious brand has been attached to so many horrible things – in particular the privatized West Coast Line in the UK, which has been a permanent source of taxpayers’ money for the Bearded One, and a disaster for anyone trying to travel by train.

          Branson has always been a despicable public schoolboy masquerading as “kool” – how interesting, though, his sudden support for regime change. Is he planning on rebranding CITGO as Virgin Oil?

          1. polecat

            “Virgin Oil” ..
            1st human pressing … or will there also be a 2nd … and a third .. and a ……. ??

    5. skk

      This reminds me of Lincoln’s attempt to send provisions only to the blockaded Fort Sumter. And we know how that ended. It was a good move by Lincoln of course. Either way, either the South lets them thru and exposes the empty nature of the secession or IT, not Lincoln starts a hot war by preventing the supply by force, either way his side came out ahead.

      1. Carolinian

        Fort Sumter was United States territory. Venezuela is Venezuelan territory unless you think Guaido is really the president by self proclamation. A better comparison would be if the Confederates had tried to send aid to Fort Sumter, thereby proving that it was really their territory. This approach doesn’t seem to have occurred to them.

        1. skk

          That’s valid. That IS a very very interesting idea – for the Confederates to have said – “We too don’t want them to starve. So WE will supply them, no need for you to bother, thanks but we can take care of it”

          We know the immediate outcome of firing on and demolishing Fort Sumter. Virginia, on April 4th had voted against secession. After the capture of Fort Sumter, and after the call for troops from the states by Lincoln ( what else was he supposed to do ), they voted FOR secession, barely 11 days later, April 15th.

          Pretty narrow squeak there then. Shows that the South too was divided – but indeed, what would have happened if the South’s leadership had tried the idea you suggest. But then they had Jefferson and the North had Lincoln.

          { I see from your handle that you are from the Carolinas. I should beware of debating the US Civil War with you then.. I’ve listened to umpteen lectures on youtube and of course the open Yale course by Prof. David Blight – The Civil War and Reconstruction Era }

          1. Carolinian

            South Carolina but upstate.

            And the crazy Carolinians wanted a war. They could have simply let Lincoln resupply and kept the standoff going. Peace was not on their agenda.

            1. JBird4049

              A could have been made that Fort Sumter was the territory of the state South Carolina and not the United States especially before the legal issues were decided by the Civil War; I do not see anything giving the United States the right to make the state of Venezuela its 69th or 63rd (I forget which) overthrow of a country’s government.

              If the United States just has to overthrow a country’s regime because of the evil may I suggest the Republic of the Congo? Its government is probably corrupt, incompetent, and ineffectual as usual.

              It is one of those countries that’s been a Hellscape since the Belgian King Leopold conquered it with his own private army; whenever the Congo looks like it is going to become an independent, functioning country the United States with other countries steps in and does a coup, an assassination, funds some warlord’s army, bribes people, anything to make the government collapse yet again.

              Just like Venezuela has the world’s largest provable oil field, the Congo has vast and very valuable mineral and metal resources that could easily pull the country out of absolute poverty.

              Like with Venezuela, many people do not want an independent country with a functioning government able to defend itself and provide for its own people; hence the American supplied vultures pecking away at the country to keep it weak and profitably exploitable.

    6. Lynne

      Basic question here, for which I sort-of apologize:

      Is Branson just a useful idiot, or does he understand? I suspect he views this as useful PR, but is there some other reason he’s doing this?

  6. timbers

    America: ‘Indispensable Nation’ No More

    Yikes. It’s so up-side-down reading decent stuff from conservatives (I’m assuming the author is conservative as the title site implies but actually am not familiar with him).

    Anyway, not directly related but indirectly: I’m seeing more articles on Germany drawing a line on Nordstream 2 and what it might mean. I do think Germany is slowing waking up the the probability that it’s economic future lies more to the East than with USA.

    Will be interesting to see what Germany does when Trump is gone. Is Germany acting in her own interest or just repelled by Trump? Will she move closer to USA once we have a more Establishment friendly President or continue to slowly nudge toward an independent policy?

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      Andrew Bacevich is a retired US Army colonel who after retirement became a professor of History – at Boston University, IIRC. Also, IIRC, he commanded a brigade during the first Iraq war in 1991. He is not a neo-conservative. His son was killed in that country in our second conflict there.

      1. Judith

        I saw Bacevich speak at a public event in Cambridge last year. I was impressed with his intelligence, thoughtfulness, and, for lack of a better word, presence/leadership. I would like to see him as part of Bernie’s cabinet.

      2. CarlH

        I served under Col. Bacevich during the Gulf War. It was the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment that he commanded. Like all enlisted, I gave him respect at the time only because I had too. After reading and hearing him speak for many years since then, my respect for him is now as real and as genuine as can be. Life is strange that way I guess.

    2. TalkingCargo

      Whenever I see an article by Andrew Bacevich I read it and have yet to be disappointed. And no, I’m not a conservative in the current sense of that word.

      I also often find interesting articles on The American Conservative website. It also has a fair amount of nonsense but the good stuff makes it worthwhile for me. Of course, it’s no NC.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Bacevich is excellent and has frequently been linked before here at NC. He is a prolific author and I can recommend The Limits of Power: the End of American Exceptionalism but he probably has something more recent.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Read Bacevich while serving in the Army.

      Dude is def on our side.

      Yves Lambert Bacevich Mckibben Hudson johnstone Black Frank Kelton Taibbi

      NC should design a t shirt with all these names on it.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Nike just bricked its self-lacing shoes by accident”

    Know just what they mean. I was buttoning up my shirt today when it froze and I had to wait for the buttons to reboot. Unfortunately, only the bottom buttons managed to restore successfully. In pulling on my trousers I found that my left pant leg refused to talk to my right pant leg and so had to do a factory re-set on them and get them to recognize my wi-fi all over again. I then had a general protection fault (GPF) with the jacket’s zipper causing it to crash. Also, through some design fault, I could only match my left sock with my right shoe and visa-versa. It was terrible. To top it all off, the internet went down so I had to start getting dressed all over again. I wonder if people in the third world know how hard we have it in the first world?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      We’re one step closer to the inevitable butt wiping app and you’ll be able to tell who’s using it by the poo smeared on their faces.

        1. wilroncanada

          Had a dream last night related to exploding shoes. The Rev Kev and Bernalkid have caught the drift. I dreamed that clothing manufacturers would soon be making all clothing with some kind of “magic fastening system” that could be hacked. At some point, during an important speech, at the UN General Assembly perhaps, by one of the world’s would-be, or self-styled,emperors, some hacker would hit the delete key, and POOF! off would come the clothes. Shouts all over the world…THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!

    2. VK

      Remembered me of “The 1000 Dreams of Stellavista” albeit the world is coming closer to St. Lems “Do you really exist, Mr. Jones?” every day.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That is one hell of a story that “The 1000 Dreams of Stellavista”. Reminds me of the sort of stories that I use to read all the time as a kid. For those who want to read this disturbing story of a psychotropic house, you can find it at-

        Haven’t read a story like this centered around a house since Robert A. Heinlein’s story “- And He Built a Crooked House” and the link for this story can be found at-

        Gotta love a story that starts like this-

        “Americans are considered crazy anywhere in the world.
        They will usually concede a basis for the accusation but point to California as the focus of the infection. Californians stoutly maintain that their bad reputation is derived solely from the acts of the inhabitants of Los Angeles County. Angelenos will, when pressed, admit the charge but explain hastily, “It’s Hollywood. It’s not our fault—we didn’t ask for it; Hollywood just grew.”

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Anyone Buying This Venezuela Bullshit Is A Complete Fucking Moron Caitlin Johnstone

    I actually have more respect for the people who have always been plugged into the CIA/CNN narrative than I have for those who saw through it during Obama’s interventions but not during Trump’s. Someone who has always been plugged into the mainstream narratives on US regime change interventionism is like a guy with his head up his ass. Someone who saw through Obama’s depravity in Libya and Syria but fails to do the same with Venezuela is like a guy who pulled his head out of his ass, then soaked his hair with lube and willfully re-inserted it.

    Catlin Johnson is rapidly becoming my favourite non NC blogger, anywhere.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can’t keep a good Melbourne girl down (and it’s pronounced ‘Mel-b’n’ not ‘Mel-born’ for any American readers). Can you imagine her facing off with Meghan McCain? Or Rachel Maddow? She’d rip them a new one.

    2. Annieb

      I respectfully suggest that everyone appreciating Caitlin’s writing subscribe and send her some $$$. Freelance writers gotta pay the electric bill too.

    3. a different chris

      Like all her stuff, it’s great but… and you know there was a but:

      If you have access to alternative media, all of these facts are easily available to you. If all of these facts are easily available to you, and yet you still support the US government’s interventionism in Venezuela, you are a complete fucking moron.

      Who is she talking to? People like me? But, so what? I can’t do a damn thing about any of this. The best I could do is show up for an ignored at best and mis-represented at worst protest. Maybe I’m just some loser, but has anybody here been asked by anybody in any sort of power what their opinion is? I suspect not.

      And I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of the Deplorables, split somehow between “this is crap” and “I totally believe it but don’t give a family blog about Venezuela”, also strongly believe we shouldn’t have anything to do with this. Again, what difference can they, if I am correct, make either?

      Some democracy.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Certainly you can do something!

        1. Send some money to Tulsi
        2. Collar a true believer and then pummel them with obvious truthiness until they submit
        3. Grab a brick and go smash something with it

        John Stuart Mill: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

    4. R

      I agree. Caitlin cuts through the crap. Writes nice poems, too. Bought one of her poem tee-shirts to support her work — for my hubby, I am too portly to wear pictures on my bosom ;-). She’s a fan of the ideas of Terence McKenna, as well — and that makes me happy.

    5. Norb

      Uncompromising directness is a breath of fresh air. What I find disconcerting is that many people fall into this moron category. It is really quite amazing how the same narrative continues to hold sway over so many people- at least in America. This is not to say that people of conscience don’t exist, but they represent a silent majority in the country. Most people, at least the ones I have contact with, won’t take a moral or principled stand.

      The problem I see is that citizens with conscience should be speaking the same direct language as Johnstone, but that doesn’t go over too well in most workplaces. You risk censure and termination. Not to mention uncomfortable family settings.

      The stakes just keep rising.

      American elites want to stay the global hegemon and citizens toady along with the plan- unwittingly.

      At least the British Empire was direct in its subjugation- you have to at least give that credit when compared to the American way of Empire.

      Who wants befuddlement and subterfuge as a main driving force behind your plans for world domination. It seems Americans do.

    6. Aumua

      Am I the only one who thinks it’s stupid to call people morons and swear at them? I mean it’s counterproductive at best. She’s preaching to the choir here, basically accomplishing nothing with her writing. Maybe it makes her and some others feel better, or just better than other people. I suppose that’s something.

      1. Janie

        Yes, name-calling and crude language are counterproductive as a rule. My mother bequeathed me expressions such as “reminds me of the south end of a north-bound horse”.

      2. Norb

        I see your point, and to a certain degree sympathize, but at what point in civil discourse do you call out liars for lying and willful ignorance a social vice? I would say, in America, we are well beyond that threshold of polite propriety.

        Paul Craig Roberts keeps referring to Americans as insouciant. I think the term very fitting. As long as the entertainments keep flowing, and a modicum of comfort is still possible, the elite are left unchallenged and to a sickening level, still revered.

        Corporate democrats and their donors have spent the last two years saturating the airwaves with anti-Trump rhetoric and stoking international conflict. The playbook has not changed, and why would it, the American public bites hook-line-and-sinker.

        There is no polite way to triangulate between right and wrong- war and peace. Unless you are safely on the sidelines, unaffected by the mayhem.

        I remember an instance from the Iraq war pertaining to George Bush and a shoe.

        Sometimes simple directness is the best course of action.

      3. bassmule

        I will sometimes post her stuff at facebook with the preface “You’ll have to excuse my excitable friend…”

      4. The Rev Kev

        Maybe, but think about this. Think of all the invasions and coups in just the past twenty years alone that most people have signed off on. Yeah – Iraq definitely has WMD. We all know that Libyan soldiers are taking drugs to help them rape women better. Naturally we have the right to bomb people in other countries to defend our freedoms. Of course we have to occupy Afghanistan forever to protect women’s rights. Everybody knows that Assad gassed his people 300 times because he is so evil. Iran is a threat to world peace because they do not follow our orders. Maduro must be toppled so that we can take back our oil. Israel and Saudi Arabia are paragons of democracy.
        If you lived to a neighbour that was wrecking havoc on the area for years and most of your neighbours were siding with him, at what point do you use plain language to tell people to stop and smell the coffee? When is enough enough?

        1. Oh

          There’s nothing wrong with using strong vile language especially with numbnuts. We might even get their attention.

    7. ewmayer

      “I actually have more respect for the people who have always been plugged into the CIA/CNN narrative than I have for those who saw through it during Obama’s interventions but not during Trump’s.”

      No disagreement there, but it seems to me it’s the converse that’s plaguing us rather more these days – all this stuff that’s been going on for decades with each administration seemingly trying to up the ante, and Trump comes along and fails to couch the nastiness in properly ‘decorous’ political rhetoric, and all of sudden Evil Stalks the Globe in form of the orange-haired satan. The DemoTwits even rehabilited W. Bush in aid of this delusion, ferchrissakes!

  9. Baby Gerald

    re: Why We Think Cats Are Psychopaths

    This article reveals about the author and the ‘psychology graduate student’ from the University of Liverpool who concocted a survey, than it does about cats. Firstly, who’s the inclusive ‘we’ implied from the title? Thanks to a roommate, I am now part-owner of a cat named Ezra. He’s my first cat and I love him to no end. He’s a little weird- eats spinach, bites my roommate when she tries to hold him but begs to sit in my lap, but I’d never use the word ‘psychopath’ to describe him, or any non-human animal, actually. I’ve known many cat-owners and all of their cats have had quirks, but not once has any of these owners called any of their cats a psychopath.

    Which brings up the more sinister aspect I find in this article– the author’s lazy equating of ‘psychopath’ with ‘a lack of facial expression’. Cats have less muscles in the face than dogs do, goes the argument, so cats can’t express themselves facially. Psychopaths all of them!

    If you’re not seeing emotion in a cat’s face when it’s looking at you, it’s because you’re not looking. I can tell when my feline friend is feisty, wants attention, wants to be left alone, needs his box checked, all from the look on his face or the cant of his ears. Real psychopathology, however, can run the gamut from wild-eyed ranting Manson to gonzo Jim Jones to cold-as-ice emotionlessness Hannibal Lechter. It’s the actor’s intent, their actions and their consequences and whether the actor is comfortable with themselves after the outcome, not their facial expressions of emotion or lack thereof, that make someone a psychopath.

    1. Wukchumni

      Cats have had me for decades now and I wouldn’t call em’ psychopaths, but there’s something really creepy in regards to a natural born killer that does it mainly for sport and then rips up it’s prize into parts strewn all over the back patio, shortly before wanting to be let in and contently sit on your lap, purring.

      Now if it was a human doing that, a Ted Bundy-ish psychopathic serial murderer comes to mind, run for your lives!

    2. polecat

      Just be glad they haven’t yet developed the use of an opposable kitty digit …

      Cats with thumbs – “Yikes!”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Don’t knock cats! When the robot uprising starts, they will be our greatest allies. The facial recognition software that the robots use will be useless against the ‘lack of facial expression’ of the cats and will be of no help to them. Those film clips also prove that they are already masters of Escape & Evasion.

    3. Unna

      Cats: I’ve always been of the opinion that there is a difference in the behaviour of “all the time indoor cats” and those who have free access to the outdoors whenever they want. Eg, the article talks about cats’ psychopathic behaviour to include, “…waiting on the kitchen counter to pounce on unsuspecting family members. In short, pretty typical cat behaviour.” What? I’ve had cats all my life and I’ve never seen that, although I’ve never had a full time indoor cat. Cats will hide behind corners and scare very young children with the objective of starting a run-play scenario, just like with a litter mate, but that’s hardly psychopathic behaviour. A young happy cat will even do that with an adult they like. It’s called play.

      Another problem with the article is pretty glaring: “The survey, Evans hopes, is just the first step in devising a way to measure psychopathy in cats. She’d like to eventually study cats in their natural habitat—their house—so as not to rely on the word of their owners.” The house of a human is now a natural habitat for cats? From which planet did this Evans primate (?) beam down from? What about a bird cage for a parakeet as it’s natural habitat?

      Human houses aren’t even natural habitats for human babies and young kids – which is why you have to “child proof” houses. And that’s not just to keep the child safe or your things from being broken. It’s primarily to allow young crawling and toddling children, as well as older ones, to explore naturally in their environment with an eye towards fostering psychological as well as physical-motor skills development, and normal parent-child bonding by eliminating the need to constantly say No, or, Don’t touch That, and so on.

      If a contemporary human house is not a natural habitat for a human child, how could one be a natural habitat for a semi wild creature such as a cat. Or, as Col. Chaiko said in that 1985 movie, White Knights, “Modern man is so confused.”

      1. Harold

        Cats have ways of communicating. They have a very strong parental bond. They teach each other to hunt. They guard their kittens while they are eating. Our cat gets excited when she sees us getting ready for bed, she starts purring very loudly and kneading the bedclothes. She likes to climb on each on one of us in turn and will rest her head on our arm or chest. Then she will go back to patrolling the house for mice. It’s much more than facial expression, and that goes for dogs as well.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes’s Chilling Final Months at Theranos”

    OK, agreed that Elizabeth Homes is a few planes short of an air force who, even though she built up a bs corporation and blew billions away, still managed to go a very, very long way. The thing is this. That whole blood test gimmick was a scam from the get-go and in a normal society, she would be shown the door pronto after her presentations. In ours, however, she was able to embed herself in a matrix of the elites who included such luminaries such as Henry Kissinger, James Mattis, George Schultz and Rupert Murdoch. I repeat, this is our supposed elite of whom you would expect superior judgement.

    But lets place this into context. This blood test would have collapsed over time due to its fraudulent nature. In the end, it was all about the money and the lifestyle of the rich and famous that Holmes was able to afford. But it’s role would have been restricted by its technology to minor sectors of our society – though people may have died because of it. There she may have been dangerous.

    But look at the other people mentioned in that article who are mostly still around – Peter Thiel, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey – who are typical of their group. These are people who have infiltrated most people’s lives and are deciding what you can and can’t see, decide which dissidents you will not be allowed to hear, push you to accept crappier iterations of their software & hardware with each generational upgrade. They are silencing voices on the internet who are talking truth to power and these people are pushing people to accept the establishment’s goals as your own. They track you, surveil you and monetize you. They build up massive databases on your personal lives open to the government to inspect at any time.

    So I ask you. Who are the real dangerous people here?

    1. William Beyer

      She never looked back because her dog was shitting on the carpet. She left the mess for others to clean up. A better metaphor for U.S. capitalism would be hard to find..

    2. ape

      Intelligence and education are not necessary to be part of the elite.

      Just see the Davos crowd really believe that 70% marginal tax rates are “socialism” and be honestly shocked (see their faces) for the facts to not support them:

      They don’t even have to be “street smart”. See Dianne Feinstein completely mishandle children and a 20 year old political handler who challenge her on GND:

      I mean, really, we’re talking what should be a softball challenge for one of the US’s top politicians, and she flubs it like a teenager. And it’s not unique — it’s the most common thing in the world to see top politicians blow the easiest political plays when they’re not on totally friendly ground.

      So, no — there is no sieve for intelligence or even street smarts at the top. It’s not the NBA, where the top basketball players are actually really good at basketball.

      Therano is not surprising — but it is very strong evidence that in fact the kind of scam that a normal person can see a mile away does really work with these schmucks. It’s not 12-dimensional chess with alternate interests — these folks are really what they appear to be.

      1. Jonhoops

        If it weren’t for Steve Jobs we’d all still be using some sh*t command line OS on a PC with 640k, and typing texts on lousy “smartphones”using crappy mini keyboards with our thumbs.

        1. Wukchumni

          Steve was the Charles Atlas of his time, turning weak digits into those that can go marathon distances, and who ever gave typing class all that much thought when they forced it on you in high school back in the stone age and as long as you got so many words a minute, everything was jake, ok thanks bye, i’ll seldom be using you again, yeah right.

        2. Synoia

          Nonsense – Xerox Parc did the research and original prototype, and Steve Jobs turned it into a product.

          1. jonhoops

            Even with Xerox Parc and Steve Jobs leading the way the world was forced to suffer through 20 years of Wintel crap. At least a few of us got to live in the future on NeXT and the Mac while the rest of the world suffered.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Point well taken. Reading that article her “lack of moral compass” (according to my DSM-V she qualifies for Antisocial Personality Disorder, only the behaviors/beliefs would have to go back to when she was 15yo; she also qualifies for Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is breathtaking.

      Still I cannot help but note that the difference between her and Zuckerberg et al is her gender. As with Martha Stewart, it seems to be much easier to hold successful women to account than men.

      1. Darthbobber

        Not sure that works in this case. Plenty of guys have done time over cases much like Stewart’s. And to equate Facebook with Theranos you’d need a situation in which nobody at Facebook had actually come up with anything like a social media network, but had somehow contrived to convince enough people that they had to take in several billions of opm. Zuckerberg and cos. sins are other than this.

    4. Ptb

      The Theranos and Eliz Holmes saga invites some reading between the lines.

      First, on a personal level – her surrounded by these considerably older dudes, one her BF, who were some combination of charmed by her, charming her, and for those who were neither, taking advantage of the whole situation for themselves. Typical people don’t end up in Holmes’ situation, smth from her childhood prob resulted in the drive (multiple dimensions) to get there. I find articles vilifying her but not the board a bit in poor taste.

      Next the strong MIC angle, of which there were 2 aspects. First of those, the super heavyweights (Kissinger, Schultz, Mattis etc) on the board, mainstream media has to give them a free pass. This makes it ripe for mega BS already.

      Second, and this is total speculation… why were the mil board members there for a speculative med diagnostic technology? Did they actually believe it? b/c they’re over the level where you build a pitch around cherry picked data for a few $million. it’s one thing to fool a VC with $10^7, for them the minimal standard to meet is the greater fool theory. And that is something VC’s qualified to judge, even if the science/tech are too new to have expert opinion on.

      But at $10^9 you need some part of the govt, or a captive market, with no sense of quality, to really make it fly. But FDA has a sense of quality. Industry at that dollar level would get to the scientists who did the cherry picking (and could afford to hire their own to actually replicate results, rather than simply have them reviewed).

      Now the unassailable MIC/govt cover was there, making such replication unnecessary allowing the charade to proceed of course. But that is not what came first.

      Wild guess is mil needed a corporate shell to buy and operate a potentially large capacity of blood testing. Perhaps related to the Ebola crisis. If new tech comes of it, great, but conventional tech just as good. Money would be no object, it just has to have the capacity to stay quiet – all an insurance policy, likely unused but needed, in case Ebola crisis got out of hand.

      Last and final factor is the outrageous cost structure of US med diagnostics.

      Kindof a perfect storm of behind the scenes tech capitalism, just in a weird way that I find a bit disturbing. Maybe in 15 yrs we’ll get the real story.

      1. Rhondda

        From Wikipedia
        Holmes’s father, Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, was a vice president at Enron, followed by executive positions in government agencies such as USAID, the EPA, and USTDA.[11][12][13] Her mother, Noel Anne Daoust, worked as a Congressional committee staffer.

      2. Darthbobber

        It’s largely a window-dressing board. They were there, from their perspective, as part of monetizing their reputations. From her perspective, they were there to provide a cloud of vague credibility.

      3. Ptb

        Scratch the party about the Ebola outbreak, the timing is wrong. But still looks like a defense contracting job of some kind.

    5. Summer

      These traits we call sociopathic are rewarded so that they are reproduced throughout a society and its institutions. This is not the beginning of it or the end of it. The tryant awaiting to take the reigns in the future USA may be beyond a horror we can imagine.

      It’s a fairly long article, so I want to drop a bit from the end:

      “Holmes is currently living in San Francisco in a luxury apartment. She’s engaged to a younger hospitality heir, who also works in tech. She wears his M.I.T. signet ring on a necklace and the couple regularly post stories on Instagram professing their love for each other. She reliably looks “chirpy” and “chipper.” She’s also abandoned the black-turtleneck look and now dresses in athleisure, the regrettable attire of our age. Notably, she is far from a hermit. She tells former colleagues, according to the two executives, that she is greeted by well-wishers on the street who are rooting for her resurrection. It’s a stark contrast to many of her old colleagues. Former Theranos employees I have spoken to have relayed horror stories about their inability to find work after leaving the company, now with a permanent stain on their resumes.”

      1. ChristopherJ

        I only need to see the photos to know that she is unhinged and not like, well, like us.

        Needs to go to jail, but like the real crims in France, jail is only for the petite

    6. polecat

      Not to quibble, much …. but was mr. Jobs the recipient of a “reanimation” of some sort .. cuz, sure as there are electrodes to Frankenstein, I thought the man dead !

  11. TalkingCargo

    Re: GND is Feasible & Affordable:

    I’m not a fan of Jeffrey Sachs and this article shows why.

    “Cars and trucks will shift from gasoline to electricity, using batteries or fuel cells (with hydrogen manufactured by electrolysis). Planes will use electricity for short flights and advanced zero-carbon fuels for longer flights.”

    It sounds so easy. But there are serious problems with shifting trucks to batteries and I don’t think fuel cells are quite ready for deployment yet. And how many passenger planes run on electricity? None that I’ve heard of. As for “advanced zero-carbon fuels for longer flights”, this is the first I’ve heard of such fuels. Did someone invent a perpetual motion machine and I missed the announcement?

    “Most of the modest costs of decarbonization will never hit the federal budget, as they will be absorbed by the utility industry, the automobile producers, and other parts of the private economy.”

    Well, for some definition of modest. Um, “the other parts of the private economy” I suppose means consumers.

    The problem is that doing without fossil fuels means doing without a lot of stuff that we really want – like commercial air transportation and a host of other things. Pie-in-the-sky articles like this are a waste of photons, but I expect to see a lot more in the coming weeks. Especially from IYI economists like Sachs who don’t know the first thing about physics and energy.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      The trucking industry is the biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the US. So I wonder how much progress we could make by focusing squarely on converting trucks to zero-carbon energy. You are correct, this will not be easy or without significant costs to everyone. But the entire premise of the GND and the climate crisis is that excuses like this are no longer a sufficient reason for inaction.

      1. TalkingCargo

        I have nothing against the GND per se. In fact, we need to make a transition to a lower energy lifestyle. But that means giving up a lot of stuff that we take for granted. What annoys me is articles like Sachs’ that make it all seem like we can have our cake and eat it too.

        There are certain points I need to see in an article about GND before I can take it seriously:
        1. We need to stop using fossil fuels to do anything serious about AGW.
        2. Without fossil fuels the pampered lifestyles that some of us enjoy will not be possible.
        3. We will be forced to stop using fossil fuels in any case because There’s Only So Much Oil In the Ground.
        4. Perpetual economic growth is impossible on a finite planet.

        It would be great if we could make the transition to lower energy lifestyles in a carefully reasoned, well-planned manner but that seems unlikely to me. In the past, transitions to other forms of energy have taken decades and I see no reason to believe that this one will be any different. However, if someone proposes a GND that includes the 4 points listed above, I’ll happily support it.

        1. a different chris

          >Without fossil fuels the pampered lifestyles that some of us enjoy will not be possible.

          One thing to think about is how much excess fat is in that pampering, eg the Law of Diminishing Returns. Is a 2500 sq ft house so much more comfortable than an 1800 sq ft house, or did you just buy it because the real estate agents pushed you to? Is a Suburban really nicer in any daily driver way than a Grand Cherokee, and is said GC nicer than something that is another 10% cheaper to run? And regardless of the vehicle, do you want to commute 45 minutes each way?

          I get the feeling, just in general conversations, completely unrelated to environmentalism at all, is that the first green people would love to have is money, and they wish they didn’t find themselves forking over so much of it. But Keeping Up With The Jones is pushed hard in this country, and many simply do it because they are afraid of the consequences if they don’t.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Another point confirming your house size issue is layout. I visited Richard Smith in an 800 square foot apartment in the Barbican. It was a 2BR, decent sized kitchen, living/dining room, usual UK water closet separate from bath/shower, which also had a sink.

            We didn’t feel at all crowded, which I found remarkable given that I was stuck there as a volcano refugee for 12 days. Admittedly Richard and his wife are good sports, but 12 days was enough to really test this arrangement.

            1. Joe Well

              Slightly off-topic, I once had a gap year job at Moorgate and loved walking through the Barbican, a vision of a future that never arrived from a time before I was born. Everything about it was supposed to have been extraordinarily carefully planned. I would love to see one of those apartments on the inside someday. I hope the structure’s finally getting some love now that Brutalism has become historic architecture.

          2. johnnygl

            A lot of the increasing house size is homebuilders don’t build for the middle class anymore. They build for the wealthy and the rest of us just move into whatever they leave behind….dragging everyone into more and more sq footage.

      2. David(1)

        According to the EPA, Light-Duty vehicles (passenger cars, light-duty trucks) account for 60% of U.S Transportation Sector GHG Emissions (Source). Medium and Heavy-Duty Trucks account for 23% and Aircraft account for 9%.

        1. tegnost

          Thanks Davd(1), I think there’s a lot a low hanging fruit there for public transportation…these days in the usa “light duty truck” means car really. We really could get carbon savings from reducing urban carbon.

      3. Big River Bandido

        Why should we worry about creating a fleet of electric trucks? One hundred zero-emission trucks will still jam the highways, and carry only a fraction of the freight that a single train can carry. Even an old-school diesel train is more efficient.

    2. jhallc

      “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I have this quote on a magnet on my refrigerator. In my case it refers to the fact that we soldier on in the face of the most unimaginable losses.

        Reality itself can turn impossible.

      2. Synoia

        Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

        So have I. All it requires is too much beer, or some psychedelic substance. Another method is to be paid to believe something.

        None that that means it’s true.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      From Pennsylvania State University “Operational Performance Prediction of a Hydrogen-Fueled Commercial Transport” 2006 symposium paper

      The potential use of liquid hydrogen in aircraft has been researched since the 1950’s, with major pushes by the developed countries of the world occurring two decades later during the fuel price crisis of the 1970’s [2, 7]. More recent efforts of Lockheed-California Company and Airbus have been motivated by the potential to lower the aviation industry’s environmental impact as well as it’s dependence on oil [1, 2, 7]. Both studies agree that the transition of commercial aviation to hydrogen will occur sometime near the middle of this century….. large commercial hydrogen aircraft could be built by 2020 but “will probably not enter service until closer to 2040.”

      In other words this is not “pie in the sky” but almost already here. All it needs is a small economic nudge such as the GND.

      1. human

        Liquid hydrogen is unimagineably dangerous. Much infrastructure would have to be developed and in place to make it safe. Self-licking ice cream cone?

        1. Pookah Harvey

          From the cited source:

          Liquid-hydrogen aircraft would be as safe as modern kerosene aircraft. Liquid-hydrogen has specific handling requirements which must be met, just as kerosene does. The cryogenic temperatures pose additional design requirements, but these have been met in industry which has been handling liquid-hydrogen for over 40 years [2]. Current cryogenic systems would have to be modified for the aircraft environment, including service lives of over 40-50 years. Additionally, liquid-hydrogen storage and support facilities would be much larger than any system currently in use, but just as safe.
          A hydrogen aircraft could actually be safer to passengers in a crash than a kerosene aircraft. Due to the specific chemical characteristics of hydrogen, a liquid hydrogen fire would have much shorter duration than a kerosene fire, about 15-22 s for hydrogen. A kerosene fire lasts long enough to heat the fuselage to the point of collapse, whereas the hydrogen fire would leave the fuselage intact. Also, the hydrogen aircraft would pose less of a threat to the surroundings of a crash since hydrogen would have a much smaller burn radius than kerosene [2].

          Also remember the infrastructure development will be fairly small. How many commercial jet refueling stations are there. Liquid hydrogen is a cryogenic fuel. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is also a cryogenic fuel and we already have infrastructure to handle its storage and transportation so the technology is already developed and used on a large scale.

        2. Skip Intro

          Hydrogen is less dangerous than natural gas, since it doesn’t pool in low places like buildings.

          Californians can already buy a Toyota Mirai, a H2 fuel cell electric car with a network of H2 filling stations strategically located around SF and LA. I think we should also seriously be considering a return to hydrogen-filled blimps* for freight transport. In addition, a strong an H2 energy economy offers the possibility of purifying or desalinating water for human consumption, by electrolysing unpotable water, then gathering the pure water exhaust when the H2 is used. With the right catalysts, photovoltaic electrolysis could provide a replacement for natural gas using much of the the existing gas distribution infrastructure.

          *go on, ask me about the Hindenburg

          1. The Rev Kev

            *go on, ask me about the Hindenburg

            Well, actually I was going to ask about the R-101 but OK, what about the Hindenburg?

            1. Skip Intro

              Thanks for asking! The Hindenburg explosion gave dirigibles and hydrogen a bad name, but the real problem was that the membrane had been treated with a nitrate-based waterproofing agent that turned it into a high explosive! I believe it was a PBS Nova documentary that that carefully laid out the problem, and included analysis of the footage of the explosion that showed the burn-front of the membrane advancing faster than the speed of sound, making it a high explosive. The membrane exploded and the freed hydrogen floated up in a fireball that moved away from the cabin and ground crew, and turned into steam and light rain.

              I’d ask you about the R-101 now.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Thanks for that info. I had not heard of that before and will have to check it out. I’ll add that the Hindenburg was supposed to use helium but due to US sanctions had to resort to the more explosive hydrogen. The Hindenburg was such a spectacular event in America that it effectively killed off dirigible development in North America. British development of dirigibles came to an end with the crash of the R-101 in France that included “Lord Thomson, the Air Minister who had initiated the programme, senior government officials, and almost all the dirigible’s designers from the Royal Airship Works.”-


                1. Skip Intro

                  Fascinating… hadn’t even heard of the R-101. Flying the Hindenburg with helium would not have made a difference, it turns out. Since helium is a fossil and not renewable, it is not reasonable thing to base a ‘green’ aviation industry around. Sounds like helium would not have made a difference with the R-101 either.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          The Russians were flying a prototype commercial airliner in the late 80’s and have designed commercial airliners specifically for cryogenic fuels. The only reason they have not been built is the cost of liquid hydrogen vs kerosene. Just in case you didn’t know it the container ship industry is switching over to cryogenic fuels and train companies are experimenting with them.

          The International Convention for Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), adopted by the IMO, has mandated that marine vessels shall not consume fuel (bunker fuel, diesel, etc.) with a sulphur content greater than 0.5% from the year 2020 within International Waters and coastal areas of Countries adopting the same regulation. Replacement of high sulphur bunker fuel with sulphur free LNG is required on major scale in marine transport sector as low sulphur liquid fuels are costlier than LNG.[64] Japan’s is planning to use LNG as bunker fuel by 2020.[65]
          Use of LNG on rail
          Florida East Coast Railway has 24 GE ES44C4 locomotives adapted to run on LNG fuel.[66]

          The different combustible cryogenic fuels are easily interchangable.

    4. Another Scott

      The GNG as written and especially as espoused by people like Sachs seems more and more like the Obamacare of environmental policies. Rather than addressing the major need through straight-forward, decisive government actions, it masks policies through indirect means subsidies shifting costs to consumer without actually addressing the problem. This is done in the name of avoiding disruptions to people’s daily lives. There will be some improvements, but nothing major and a decade after it’s implemented, we’ll be wondering why nothing has improved.

      As for direct actions, here are a few: conversation of all commuter rail systems in the country to electric power (paid for by the federal government), construction of government-owned renewable power plants for government facilities, new public housing which will increase population density and lower the cost of housing, closure of far-flung military bases and reduction in involvement in places like Syria and Afghanistan, not to mention all of the ones we never read about. These are all direct actions that would reduce the GHG emissions of the federal government and/or citizens, while lowering expensive costs to them. Ideally this would be coupled with increases in fuel taxes, ban on private jets, and lower speed limits on interstates, among other policies. The focus of these policies are to lower the demand for energy products, rather than shifting the sources.

      1. Anon

        A modern diesel-electric locomotive is actually quite efficient pulling passenger cars. The locomotive power is in the electric motors (“trucks”) that drive the wheels. The electricity comes from the diesel-powered generator on-board. By using a diesel engine that operates efficiently in a very small RPM range (75-450 rpm) and an ingenious conical-drive generator, a wide range of torque can be applied to to the locomotive “trucks” (electric motors).

        There a likely other elements of the transportation system that would be better efficiency candidates.

      2. VietnamVet

        Today’s Zero Hedge reported that Warren Buffett lost $25 billion last quarter. When he bought BNSF he proposed wind farms along the right-a-way and electrification. If he had spent the money electrifying 1000 miles of BNSF’s mainline it would multiple through the economy 2 or 3 times; not lost digits on his computer. The nation should prepare for a future without oil powered transportation. Electric trains don’t carry their fuel, are more efficient, weigh less, and can operate with greater efficiency and speed with no exhaust in stations or along the tracks. Instead, the Trump administration stuck its head in the sand. In the rush to extract resources now; the future is trashed.

    5. Eclair

      Sigh. (As Yves is wont to say).

      Trucks, and before them, ginormous cargo ships, are part of our long long carbon-spewing supply chains. Mostly, those chains really have to be shortened.

      Driving by the port of Seattle, you see acres of those green and blue shipping containers, piled up like a crazy game of Jenga, with sky-high cranes unloading more. I imagine a dozen containers filled with the cheap, mostly plastic, crap that constitutes a Dollar Store. Others are loaded with millions of Hot Dog Toasters and George Foreman Grills. Still others with inexpensive ‘fast fashion’ items. Around the holidays they are stuffed with automated plastic Santas, musical sleighs, and strings of lights that if laid end to end would reach the moon. Most of which will end up in landfills within a few years.

      They are loaded on 18-wheelers that then head East onto the Interstates. You meet them traveling in packs in Iowa and Nebraska and chaining up before attempting Vail Pass in a blizzard.

      Dog knows where the New Zealand lamb and apples arrive (we love you NZ, but we do have sheep and acres of apple orchards on both coasts … and the flyover zones.) And,then there’s the cheap Chilean wines and table grapes. And the French cheeses. And Greek and Spanish olives. The last two are my faves …. but my New Year’s resolution is to ‘go local.’ Which means some pretty decent, if expensive, cheese. Not much luck with local olives.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If we banned the import of things we could grow and/or make here after a few decades of Watertight-Seal Protectionism, we could probably still ecologically afford the tiny percent of things we actually can’t make or grow here . . . like Greek and Spanish olives.

      2. Oregoncharles

        There is actually a reason to import NZ and Chilean produce, if it’s highly seasonal, as lamb is. Their seasons are the opposite of ours. Whether it’s worth the cost in greenhouse gases is another matter. But transportation may balance out with the refrigeration required to supply local, off-season produce.

        Of course, this does not apply to wine, cheese, or olives (which are pickled, and which do very well in California). There is another side to that coin, too: they are crafted, and at their best reflect local skills and conditions, so US and, say, Chilean or Greek production are not directly comparable. Again, not an easy call. However, those items are preserved and can be shipped by sea at a lot less energy cost than air. Even sailing ships would work.

        Footnote: an Isabel Allende novel, “Daughter of Fortune,” describes shipping fruit and other produce from Chile to California by sailing ship (with holds filled with ice) during the Gold Rush, when fresh produce was like gold in San Francisco. I gather it’s based on a true story.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      Between the Sachs link and the Jacobin link I am getting very confused as to what the Green New Deal is: Sachs suggests the Green New Deal means decarbonize the US energy system & guarantee lower-cost, high-quality health coverage for all & ensure decent jobs and living standards … making colleges and vocational schools affordable for all, simply put as college for all. Jacobin adds a list of ‘Freedoms’ echoing FDRs Four Freedoms: freedom from fear, toil, and domination and freedom to move and live. Is Green New Deal some kind of wish list? How did “World Peace” get missed? [ref. Miss Congeniality (2000)].

      The Grid is old and fragile. Trucking supports the long skinny lines of just-in-time logistics for a production and distribution system built to fail at many single points of failure. The economic system promotes waste, deliberately uses up resources at greater rates, and serves the empowerment and enrichment of a very few at great cost to the many. The government does not answer to our pleas. The checks and balances of the three partitions of government have become checks and balances of private and Corporate bankbooks.

      Resolutions and wish lists feel good but they don’t solve problems.

      1. Oh

        The checks and balances of the three partitions of government have become checks and balances of private and Corporate bankbooks.

        Yup, we write the checks (whether we like it or not) and their balances go up.

    7. Ptb

      As usual, the details are ood in many details, I’ll go over the ones that stand out to me. But the overall idea is right.

      Specific gripes – electric home heating: Aaaaa! horrid waste of high quality energy. Wil use 3x as much primary energy! Instead, heat with fuel and capture the wasted energy with micro co generation.

      Electric vehicles – if this means hybrid vehicles then yes. The real answer is rail and mes transit which, hey this, requires no new tech at all, and is fault more energy efficient.

      Zero carbon electric generation – well okay, but we are a good 15 yrs from being ready technologically. There is huge progress being made on the back end, in energy conversion electronics (99% efficient inverters): high voltage transistors, novel resonant converter circuit designs, better capacitors, networking, which will be building blocks of lighter and low-loss distributed grid. Then you have organic battery chemistries, an area of intense research. But in the immediate future, retiring existing coal in favor of natgas is a win for carbon, with today’s tech.

      Anyway, the main point – rebutting the “can’t afford it” line, I think needs all the support it can get.

    8. Fraibert

      I also wonder about another related element of the GND.

      Many of the ideas or aspirations seem to imply significant capital expenditures, including new construction of infrastructure. That being the case, I find it very difficult to believe that any portion of such infrastructure will be built in 10 years time due to simply getting the necessary permits and clearing regulatory hurdles. (My understanding is that an environmental impact study itself can take years, for example.)

      I don’t imagine the GND advocates want to loosen the regulatory environment so I wonder in practical terms how it will work.

    1. tegnost

      I read the article, she sounds like a complicated person…is there some reason to shun her? Her story rhymes with that of other women I know who’ve had difficulty “just getting over it and moving on”…And there’s a fair amount of anger there that, from the outside looking in, through the glass darkly as it were, seems painful and there really doesn’t seem to be a way out of it.

      1. aletheia33

        as the piece explains, dworkin examined, wrote, and talked publicly about the experiences and aftermaths for victims of the sexual and other kinds of trauma that are majority-female/child endured before PTSD was recognized as an accurate description of them and entered the therapeutic lexicon/practice.

        i think it is fair to say that millions of traumatized men and women have benefited from that development of a better understanding of trauma, what it does to human psyches, and how recovery can happen to any degree.

        she was a pioneer committed to airing the truth so that society could begin to address it. she instinctively understood that this was necessary. she charge ahead with it with no knowledge of how dangerous the undertaking was for herself, and she paid the price with the rest of her life. others are still tilling the ground she broke when she made that sacrifice.

        her contribution to second wave feminism was seminal. her work at the vanguard is an important part of why any woman can even choose to publicly speak out today about the fact that she has been sexually harassed–let alone assaulted.

        the public reception of her work, which was clearly a severe retraumatization, as shocking as it was to her, is not different in kind from the retraumatization many women still endure when they undertake to educate the public via descriptions of their own sexual trauma.

        the landscape has not changed all that much in many ways as to the burdens most women are forced to carry.

        if you are turned off by what (or what you think) dworkin did and said to the point that you’ve can’t acknowledge it might have had some worth, that may be a sign that you could benefit from taking a long look at the worth of some of your most dearly held, uninformed, and unquestioned assumptions.

        1. Eclair

          Thank you, aletheia33. I was a ‘first wave’ feminist and so I ignored the ‘second wave,’ figuring I had pretty much made it. So, I never read any Dworkin. Turns out, I should have.

        2. Aloha

          I think that she and her husband, fellow activist John Stoltenberg, were awesome. I came across some of her books and articles last year and was so impressed with her bravery and determination to bring women’s rights including, abortion, rape and sexual trauma into the sunlight. It is a topic that people don’t want to study that is for sure and I really wish that she was here today to give agent orange and others of his ilk a good “tweeting”.

        3. FluffytheObeseCat

          Your reply was pompous and condescending. Dworkin wrote many things over the years and some of them do not stand up well to scrutiny. (I.e. most of her rants on pornography and sex work). tegnost’s critique was mild given Dworkin’s full history, which was replete with extremism for its own sake, “street” theater, and self-destructive acts that she excused by pointing to some malevolent ‘other’…….whether that ‘other’ was culpable or not, or even real.

          That she was a gifted and sometimes accurate bent person in no way excuses the sick validation she clearly obtained from shunting blame off on others. Genuine victims had and have far better advocates than Dworkin.

          1. Chigal in Carolina

            I think that last somewhat ad hominem paragraph was meant for urblintz, Fluffy. Prior to that Alethia’s comment was straightforwardly informational, nothing pompous or condescending about it. Yours however is fairly bristling.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            There is NOTHING in this thread that warrants that kind of response. Your tone is completely out of line. You appear to have been triggered by a positive take on Dworkin and have no business lashing out over it.

            And “genuine victims”? You can question as to whether her incarceration abuse amounted to rape, but she had a husband who physically abused her and then stalked her. And you minimize that? Would he have had to chopped off one of her hands for her to have been sufficiently abused to register for you?

            1. FluffytheObeseCat

              If her final paragraph was directed at urblintz then yes, I was wrong. It looked like she was smoothly abusing tegnost because she could, because it would go unremarked upon. I believe Dworkin’s treatment by her husband certainly makes her a “genuine victim” by any reasonable standard. She spent decades afterwards writing on that basis. Writing things that harmed other people because she had been harmed in the past. I’ve only read a small part of her writings and it was years ago. However, I remember the gist of it. She did not help people in either piece that I read, instead she mocked and sneered….. and defended doing so on the basis of her past.

              Based on the pieces I have read I cannot not defend Dworkin’s work. The great cruelties done to her cannot validate the shame-spamming she engaged in, and encouraged in others.

              I have a close female relative who was an abused child. The multi-level trauma she experience was real and permanently damaging. She has spent the entirety of her mid-life seeing to it that people who weren’t among the abusers – who were in fact wholly unable to help her due to their utter lack of power (other children) – carry the payment burden for those now dead and gone.

              Dworkin appears to have operated in the same manner, except as a public intellectual she had far more reach and ultimately power, even after death. I will try to read some of her longer, scholarly pieces. They may be different than the magazine article & manifesto I read decades ago. Those were merely designed to thrill and provoke and may not be representive of her efforts. All I’ve seen to date are writings that allowed her to offload trauma, rage and sorrow onto hapless strangers.

              My apologies to alethia for the misunderstanding.

            2. urblintz

              Yves, I meant no disrespect and hope you know how much I admire you, but AD – who wrote powerful and angry prose – led many people, men and women, down a dangerous and often self-indulgent (imho) path that, in my experience, led to hate, despair, false memories and most unfortunate of all, the impossibility for dialog.

              She was certainly free to write what she wrote and, assuming one believes her self described history, it’s not surprising that she gained an audience during the “second wave.” If it had been poetry, like Plath, the best of which, as Helen Vendler says, just “eludes comprehension” her intelligence and writing skills would have been more transformative. But she wrote in absolute terms which inspired what looked to me like a cult where any dissent was not allowed.

              Just my opinion…

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                You are effectively straw manning what I wrote. I don’t have a point of view on Dworkin. I do have have a very strong point of view of the interaction on this thread, and that was what my comment addressed.

      2. Wyoming

        is there some reason to shun her?


        She was the living breathing definition of Misandry. She clearly hated and despised men. The things she said about men and boys are some of the most vile things you could imagine. If you really want to read them (I will not repeat them) it is easy to go read her writings.

        Having suffered does not give anyone justification for acting in an evil manner.

        A man in today’s world who showed anything even close to the intensity of misogyny that Dworkin exhibited of misandry would be ejected from society and anything valued or useful he might have done in other parts of his life would be discounted.

        1. barefoot charley

          To be fair, you describe her own reception pretty well.

          A taste of the review I posted just above: “This, I think, is part of why Dworkin remains so unpopular. She wants us to . . . look dead into the fact of what it means to be a woman in this world, into the pain and violence visited on women because they are women. It requires us to know more than we can stand to know.” I found her darkness illuminating.

            1. aletheia33

              thank you, tegnost.

              i believe there is a responsibility now when we are living in a disintegrating society to make an effort to learn how to do what you just said.

              we need to develop such skill as the social problems worsen.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Tegnost: In Ingmar Bergman’s film, that phrase evokes a descent into madness. I haven’t read enough of Dworkin’s work to know just what it means here, because what I saw was very destructive. With one exception:

              She published a piece in the New Yorker on men in the porn industry, based on actual interviews, that was illuminating. I don’t think she meant to, but she discovered that porn production is especially difficult for male performers, because they can’t fake it; and that women performers have far greater value and thus power in that field. At least she was honest enough to report that.

              1. tegnost

                I was using it in reference to the bible regarding love, loving others, and seeing that you can only see or understand so much about another person and yet yearning to be known with compassion oneself, and specifically to the inner life of someone suffering ptsd can be hard. I think I’ve gone over my depth here though, just that abuse especially but not limited to when you’re young can set up response patterns that others can’t or won’t bother to understand. Ms Dworkin appears to be the sort who’s going to scream it out hoping someone will listen, then cycling through all kinds of nightmare from there.


                11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

  12. Ed

    I saw Bernie’s announcement of running for President in 2020 this week and I was curious if I was the only person here who noticed the difference in that announcement from his speeches in 2016? Gone was the focus on income inequality and taking on the powerful to level the playing field for ordinary Americans to this new focus on racism, sexism, identity politics, and seemingly endless harangue of blaming all of our nations (and the worlds) troubles on Mr. Trump.

    And honestly, I am a little disappointed.

    I know it’s too early in the race to tell if this becomes a new campaign theme but after listening to his announcement, there is nothing in it that differentiates him (in my opinion) from the other Democratic candidates. And maybe that’s the point? Now, I’m too old to expect any Democratic candidate to pass a purity test but the change in Bernie’s tone was a little surprising to me.

    I guess the old adage is true. Be careful when you ask for a sequel. You just might end up getting it.

    1. Lee

      The Dem primary terrain has changed since Sanders was running against HRC. As Mark Shields recently noted: “Trump is seen as so vulnerable that every Democrat not under indictment or in detox is running for president.” And a lot of them are singing Bernie’s tune, which even if its only lip service. raises consciousness and expectations among the electorate. So, if he now and then chooses to borrow from their hymnal, I’m not overly concerned.

      The segment of Brooks and Shields on PBS Newshour from which the above quote is taken, is worth a look. Particularly Shields’ paean to Sanders beginning at minute five.

      1. Lynne

        Can we hope that it will be like voters ignoring Democratic conservatives and voting republican? Maybe it will also work to say, ignore the fake Democratic liberals and vote Bernie?

      1. chuck roast

        I gave up on watching MSM a few years ago…reading this webpage and clicking on the links prolly had something to do with that.
        My wife used to get annoyed when I would say, “Here come Frick and Frack” after the camera focused on Brooks and Shields. We no longer live together…extreme alienation prolly had something to do with that.
        But Frick doing a paean to a Democratic Socialist, and following up by slagging world’s foremost dispenser of personal jet-fuel? Things must be changing out there in TV land. I expect Frick will be joining me in library sooner rather than later.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I suspect Sanders will get right back to a lot of his prior themes.

      I was disappointed by his listing of all the “evils” that Trump does, because it sounded like a word-for-word repeat of the types of people and sins listed by Clinton in her “basket of deplorables”. But I also figured he felt some political pressure to use this Clintonite type of SJW language.

    3. neo-realist

      I was curious if I was the only person here who noticed the difference in that announcement from his speeches in 2016? Gone was the focus on income inequality and taking on the powerful to level the playing field for ordinary Americans to this new focus on racism, sexism, identity politics, and seemingly endless harangue of blaming all of our nations (and the worlds) troubles on Mr. Trump.

      I believe that part of it is fending off the Bernie Bros accusation that he was insensitive to women’s issues and getting some of the butthurt Clinton supporters. He also wants to get a significant share if not the majority of the black vote away from the spell of Harris and the CBC.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, last time Bernie only wanted to get his message heard. As Matt Stoller, a former staffer said, “Any political professional who looked at his campaign could tell you he wasn’t running to win. But at a certain point, he decided he didn’t want to lose, which is not the same thing.”

        Now he has to play defense as well as offense. Given that he’s getting full bore MSM attacks right out of the box, this isn’t easy, and it may take him a while to get the message right.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “China Sticks Up For Iran As Geopolitical Pressure Mounts”

    Reading this article made me aware of something. When you look around, the board is really being re-shuffled, isn’t it? Israel openly allies with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Europe is moving away from the US. Iran is being pushed into the Russian-Chinese alliance. The US is trying to move closer to India and pushing Pakistan away. The eastern European nations are pushing back on the demands of the western European nations of the EU. North and South Korea are moving closer together in spite of Washington’s demands that they stay separate. The UK is moving out of the EU but pushing the nations of NATO to follow their policies. It really is happening. We are once more in a multipolar world.

    1. Norb

      Evolution of the capitalist system seems to be the answer- and the massive failure of the American elite to formulate a working foreign policy. Does this indicate the failure of capitalism?

      Multipolar has the potential to be a good thing for humanity, if only a threshold concerning use of war and aggression can be surpassed. Capitalism has to evolve into something else in order to minimize conflicts.

      Building regions of cooperation seems like a winning strategy as costs rise and resources become scarce and more difficult to access.

      Instead of a new feudalism, maybe a world of peace could be possible in the future. Surely, the information is available to all if they would only look.

  14. Wukchumni

    The hottest hot spring in California at the source is Sespe hot springs, which pops out of a couple of 190 degree 30 foot tall ‘waterfalls’ from the side of a mountain and then flows down a long creek, and 109 degrees is about my outer limits, so you have to search along the creek for a place to fit in, and there’s a bit of trial & error along the way, one spot we soaked in, i’d felt as if my whole body was enveloped in warmth inside & out, but I could only last 10 seconds, must’ve been a buck thirteen or more, while 100 feet down the creek I could last 5 minutes, primal numbers, man.

    The last time we were there, a fellow coming out (it’s a 17 mile backpack in) told us we’d missed a gent who brings his camel & zebra out to the hot springs, and what a sight that must’ve been!

    The majority of my zebra encounters happened down under on Avenida Revolución, paint horses of a sort.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Socialism” Has Lost All Meaning in American Politics

    So now the US propaganda merchants are trying to conflate Sanders-style socialism with their bastardized version of what’s going on in Venezuela.

    If I were Bernie, I might start talking up FDR and making sure to conflate capitalism with drinking lead-tainted water and losing your home to the bank at every single opportunity. Put the pr!cks on the defensive and make them attempt to justify their own failed system. Welcome their hatred, as FDR did, and then let them have it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Talking up FDR? Really? That would be enough to cause modern Democrats to blow a gasket that. Right now FDR is achieving the status of he-who-must-be-not-named in modern politics. The memories of his administration cause too much pain to right-wing Republicans as well as Democrats – or do I repeat myself here?

    2. Rhondda

      “So now the US propaganda merchants are trying to conflate Sanders-style socialism with their bastardized version of what’s going on in Venezuela.”

      Boy howdy, they sure are. And then there’s Bernie on the Twitter.

      Bernie Sanders
      ‏Verified account @SenSanders
      8h8 hours ago

      The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.

      The sigh this comment elicits from me is more like a sob. We are family blogged.

  16. Wukchumni

    The forces of evil locution will supply vitriol by the truckload, with Bernie bearing the scarlet letter which most resembles a snake.

    1. Hepativore

      A quick glance at the Ballooon Juice blog on the day Sanders announced his campaign shows a glimpse of things to come. All of the smug identitarians and neoliberal apologists there are alternating between running around with their hair on fire over how Bernie Sanders is pure evil incarnate of racism, misogyny, and Russian mind control and supplicating to Kamela Harris.

      Balloon Juice is like a microcosm of the conventional thinking behind the Clinton/Obama wing of the Democratic party. It is like looking into the future in terms of upcoming anti-Sanders hit pieces and false media narratives.

          1. Hepativore

            I admit, I used to be a regular reader there and they actually used to be a progressive liberal blog. They were rather soft on Obama during his presidency but they did criticize him and the rest of the Democratic party from time to time on issues like torture, FISA, and neoconservative foreign policy. Then some new bloggers were hired in 2014 and Balloon Juice started taking on a neoliberal bent. By 2015, the Clintonites and Obama apologists had completely taken over the blog writers and the commenters. When Clinton lost to Trump in 2016, the blame cannons were turned on the “Bernie bros” and all hell broke loose. The non-Clintonites have all but left now.

            Still, I recommend to everyone here to keep an eye on Balloon Juice in order to take the pulse of the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party voter. All they do on the blog is clutch pearls over Trump, see Russian plotting behind everything, and think of new ways to smear Sanders and progressive Democrats. While it the community there is indeed vile and odious, you can use Balloon Juice as a guide as to what is coming down the pipe later in regards to establishment Democrat logic.

            1. alethiea33

              thanks for the heads up, will try to keep abreast but it is a dreary slog indeed, one feels revulsion at just stepping in it.
              so if you are checking on it, i hope you will keep us informed as well.

          2. Chigal in Carolina

            so full of vitriol and a desire for revenge there’s zero interest in policy, not much different from those who voted Trump to give DC a f*** you.

            so now, when he’s got a shot, they’re too full of bile to consider their own real interests.

            what a way to choose a president…

      1. Cal2

        Dear Mr. Sanders,

        We supported you in 2016 and we will support you in 2020.
        Please walk away from using identitarian adjectives like ‘racism’ ‘—phobias’, ‘sexism’,
        and other dog whistle terms that are policy platforms in service to adjectives.

        You will alienate more people with them than you will attract and you will lose again.
        You need to win over enough Trump voters.

        Propose policies and discuss real life solutions instead of a list of grievances.

        1. Darthbobber

          Racism and sexism designate perfectly real phenomena, and were doing so before identity politics were even a thing. If you’re going to avoid every word or phrase that gets misused in the service of various agendas, you’ll wind up discarding every word or phrase that has ever proved useful for moving people to action. Because all such terms are inevitably misused in the service of agendas. Democracy, freedom, all that sort of thing would definitely need to go by the wayside.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > Racism and sexism designate perfectly real phenomena

            Making it all the more shameful how liberal Democrats weaponize them, while ensuring they persist (see under Ice Cream Cone, Self-Licking).

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Another such blog where you can smell the Ten Per Center Liberalism is Riverdaughter’s The Confluence.

        I am going to copy-paste a little text-bit taken from a most recent post. Notice especially her Clintonite sentiments about the “white working class male”.

        “I’m shocked by the number of Democrats who should know better who are scoffing and rolling their eyes at the Green New Deal. Did they forget about how at the turn of the last century, we were still using horses and carriages? How about back in the 80’s we were still using landline touch phones? The only thing preventing the Green New Deal from getting a fair shake is the lack of enthusiasm, curiosity and love of a challenge among our Congressional dinosaurs. You don’t have to be young to find problem solving fun and I’m not voting for anyone who tries to placate the masses by making fun of the Green New Deal. If you don’t like it, come up with better solutions. Same with Medicare for All and affordable 4 year colleges. I have zero patience for pandering to the white working class male these days. His refusal to evolve and acknowledge his changing environment, in terms of climate, economy or diversity, is a danger to the rest of us.”

        Did you get that last bit? “I have zero patience for pandering to the white working class male these days. His refusal to evolve and acknowledge his changing environment, in terms of climate, economy or diversity, is a danger to the rest of us.”

        Riverdaughter has always supported NAFTA, WTO, MFN for China. I believe she also supports or at least hasbarafies for all the other Bill Clinton achievements like . . . near abolition of welfare, the repeal of Glass Steagall, the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1994, the pro-lawless-Derivatives act whose name I forget, etc.

        And of course her comments section is a lawless hive of every sort of Clintonite scum and treachery.

        1. Hepativore

          I apologize, part of my username got cut off in my previous comment. I thought that the autofill would fill in the rest so I am the same person as “He”. If a moderator here could fix it, I would be much obliged.

          Anyway, one thing that I am really getting angry about is the tendency of identitarians in the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party is to act as if white poverty in “flyover country” and “the south” is no big deal because “since white people do not experience systemic racism it is their own fault they are poor.” Look at how much mileage the media and pundits are getting out of “white working class”. The same things that affect people in poverty that are white are often most of the things that affect people in poverty that black, latino, Asian, etc. and that has to do with not being rich and staggering income inequality.

          Even then, the coastal neoliberal elites are perfectly happy to write off large sections of the country as being a lost cause, particularly the southern states as a bastion of an uneducated, racist, and backward underclass that is not worth saving. However, since poverty is a lot higher in many southern states, ameliorating poverty would go a long way towards fixing other issues as poverty often breeds social ills and even violence born out of discontentment and financial insecurity.

          1. Lambert Strether


            * * *

            My understanding is that it’s tough to be on the left in the south, and as a result, Southern leftists tend to be more insightful, more principled, and more committed. We should be encouraging them, not writing them off (or treating the liberal Democrat “firewall” in South Carolina as representative of the region, when in fact that’s the reactionary bastion that’s holding the rest of the country back).

            1. Hepativore

              Thank you Lambert.

              I often wonder if part of the reason why a lot of southern states are Republican strongholds is because Republican politicians in these areas have had decades to gerrymander themselves permanent majorities. Because of the “winner-take-all” voting system, it might be hard for Democrats to take hold. Still, when asked about progressive ideas and attitudes, many people in the south are just as on board with them as people anywhere else in the US when party affiliation is not mentioned. I think it comes down to people have pre-conceived ideas of what a “Democrat” or “Republican” is.

              Still, Sanders did quite well in many states in the south in 2016. I think that this is because despite all of the lip service that Republicans give to people in the southern states as part of the “Southern strategy” they are still the party of the 1% and would gleefully let the peasantry languish to appease their corporate overlords. The rank-and-file Democrats feel the same way, except they throw in some identitarianism for good measure.

              1. UserFriendly

                Decades to Gerrymander? After the 2010 census the 5 states that democrats had complete control over and could gerrymander were IL, MA, MD, West Virginia, and Arkansas. For many other states that was the first time that the dixiecrats didn’t have at least one chamber.

                Bernie did not do quite well in a single southern state unless you start counting West Virginia and Kentucky southern.

      3. FluffytheObeseCat

        The key blogs that formed the “Liberal Blogosphere” in the first decade of this century are ~15 years old. The people who founded them, their core followers, and most of the bloggers who are still posting are all middle-aged at least. They probably haven’t gotten rich off blogging, (definitely haven’t gotten rich off commenting), and I don’t think many were rich when they started.

        I tend to keep it in mind when I see how hidebound, bigoted, and doctrinaire they’ve become. The constant, bitter rage of middle-aged intellectuals with meager savings and too few remaining options in life…….. it bends them into this.

        1. Joe Well

          middle-aged intellectuals with meager savings and too few remaining options in life

          In all seriousness, why, then, don’t they wholeheartedly support socialistic redistribution of wealth? I’m baffled. And I can sympathize with them, but I’m baffled by their reaction.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > The key blogs that formed the “Liberal Blogosphere” in the first decade of this century are ~15 years old. I tend to keep it in mind when I see how hidebound, bigoted, and doctrinaire they’ve become.

          I resemble that remark?

      4. Kurt Sperry

        The comments there, wow. And liberals think Trump/flyover deplorables are stupid. They are like Rhodes Scholars compared to much of the Balloon Juice commentariat. I don’t know how some of them breathe without ventilators, they are so profoundly brain-dead.

        1. Skip Intro

          To be fair, many of the sentient humans are gone, so many of the comments are just various revisions of 2016 Brockbot™ software still autonomously roaming comment threads and algorithmically generating talking-point based paragraphs by interacting with other bots, rather than the humans they are supposed to be imitating and influencing. Some say that’s what happened at dkos too.

    1. Monty

      Maybe they don’t believe the risks from Climate Change are as bad as you do. Maybe they think the greater risks (to their class) are from the end of the infinite growth model. Many people I have met around the US don’t believe Climate Change is real at all. I think they are likely to be wrong, but until we see the advertised catastrophic results coming home to roost in the US, we face a classic prisoners dilemma:

      If climate change is real: USA changes, but nobody else does. USA suffers short term, they prosper. We still all die. To which USAians will say, “F that. If anyone is going to prosper at the end, it’s us! USA #1”.

      That’s why the US has a military big enough to fight everyone else at once. Because if Climate Change is real. That will likely be the end game. There is no current mechanism to act as a species in our best interests.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I get what you’re saying and you’re likely correct about what the opponents ‘believe’, but the thing is there is no ‘if’ – the climate is changing. If a simple look outside the window isn’t enough to convince a person at this point, then seeing a satellite photo of the arctic circle missing its ice should be. And I think for most people it has.

        We may finally be reaching a tipping point, although perhaps far too late, where the majority of people are not willing to be held hostage by the minority who don’t ‘believe’ in climate change. Science really doesn’t care whether people believe it or not, the world will still go on being round just the same. Or become too volatile to support life as we’re used to. If Feinstein can’t get on board with this, then perhaps it’s time for her to do as the first syllable of her name suggests before her ill informed decisions make life miserable and short for billions of people.

          1. Carey

            I think the average citizen is bright enough to understand, if only they
            weren’t being subjected to corporatist propaganda, day and night.

            1. Monty

              You’re right, but they will continue to be immersed in that for as long as it suits the propagandists. So, now what?

      2. a different chris

        >If climate change is real: USA changes, but nobody else does.

        But this… is not at all what is happening?

        >That’s why the US has a military big enough to fight everyone else at once.

        Where is this fight or fights to be had? Said military has failed everywhere it has been tried for a half-century plus. I do believe they can protect “the Homeland”, FWIW.

        1. Monty

          I agree, but US policy won’t be steered by “what is”, who is the arbiter of truth going to be?

          It is only “what appears to be so”, in the minds of enough voters to win elections, that can do that.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        If America withdrew from all Free Trade entanglements all the way back to GATT Round 1 and restored militant belligerent protectionism, we could begin to de-fossilize behind our Beautiful Wall of Protection. We could exclude and forbid economic contact with every country which refused to adopt our ( in my dreams) approach to de-fossilization, because we could keep all their carbon-dumping import aggression out of our country.

        And as to DiFi, I watched that little clip and what you see is what she is. Her innermost truest self shined through.

    2. Lynne

      Farther down in the comments, someone posted what purports to be the entire video. It includes Feinstein saying that she and some others are proposing a different resolution that she believes will pass, and her asking an aide to get that resolution and make copies for everyone. She then tells the kids that she would be interested in hearing any suggestions they have for changes to her proposal. After the teacher kept interrupting her, she started to get defensive and we saw the crossed arms and brags that she was the one just re-elected that show up in the posted clip.

      I would be interested in suggestions on how someone could have extricated themselves in a better manner that would not lead to such an awful clip. Perhaps just a thank you for you input, and I will consider it? Seriously, it is getting increasingly difficult not to get defensive when you know that at any time, someone might be recording you. Dianne Feinstein is too old to be prepared for that 24/7/365. Either that, or she just doesn’t care.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        DiFi has had 30 years in the Senate to show she cares. These people don’t need defenses. She needs to explain the 30 years she’s pissed away.

      2. richard

        I’d like to know more about how this all went down. How this group arranged time with difi, did they make an appt. or did they just surprise her and get lucky? I’m guessing she had at least a little time to prepare, and was perhaps hoping to get something out of the meeting. Does anyone know the provenance?
        Whoever put them together did something brilliant.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I’ve been saying for some time that GND rhetoric should on children, because forty years of “saving the planet” hasn’t worked. And behold!

          I suppose when you think about it, children are the ultimate charismatic animal, for good or ill

  17. Wukchumni

    Cartoons still have a place, the Ohman one linked was ominous and expressed so much in so little, there done.

  18. Monty

    I read a comment that resonated with me at the “America Indispensable No More” link:

    “No blame for Democrats or Republicans, we have the government the majority of voters want. “These colors don’t run” “They will not have died in vain” “We must have defense to protect us for terrorists” “Our military is the best in the world and remain the best in the world” “Peace is only possible with a strong defense”. Any politician who runs against the American Empire will immediately be labeled an enemy of Uncle Sam. And will not win. It’s not the elites of either political party or political viewpoint that has gotten us to this point. It’s the public. There was always, from the beginning, a debate on whether the common man or woman had what it takes to government a nation. I no longer believe it can be done. Perhaps with an agrarian 18th century technology, yes. Today…….well, look around. Alternative? No idea. Or. No idea that would ever fly in a democracy.”

    I was reminded of this famous George Carlin quote:

    “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope.”

    1. flora

      The quoted anonymous comment from original article sounds like it was written by someone who read and agrees with libertarian Hoppe and the ideas in his book ‘Democracy: The God That Failed’. (I wonder if any libertarians read NC)?

      From a blurb about the book:

      This sweeping book is a systematic treatment of the historic transformation of the West from limited monarchy to unlimited democracy. Revisionist in nature, it reaches the conclusion that monarchy, with all its failings, is a lesser evil than mass democracy,…

      1. Chigal in Carolina

        It has long been my impression that some of the comments are the product of a libertarian ideology

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          This! I think it was Fighting Bob La Follette (though I’m oft wrong) that said that “Any problem with democracy can be solved with MORE democracy”.

      1. human

        The white, western USofA has never been a democracy, but, a constitutional republic, considered a “better” form of government than many others. Democracy is anarchic.

        1. Alfred

          May I recommend here a wonderful recent book by Jeffrey Lieber, _Flintstone Modernism_ (2018)? I’m about 2/3 the way through it. It’s an altogether fascinating book, engagingly written and illustrated, though with (what should be) a disturbing thesis. It presents itself as an essay on postwar American architecture, but it ranges into film, fashion, furniture, and other departments of both ‘high’ and ‘mass’ culture that were designed in coordination with each other to ‘fill up’ public consciousness, and thus to persuade. Lieber is explicit in laying out the history he reconstructs as a sometimes overt, sometimes covert psychological operation justified by “security” and anchored on the east coast by Eisenhower in the White House (“government”) and on the west by MacArthur at RAND (“business”). To support his argument about design Lieber highlights many political statements of the 1950s and 1960s. Taken together with the buildings Lieber discusses, those (often illustrated) texts by such ideologues as Henry Luce make clear how a huge plurality of Americans came to mistake an ideological screen that was crafted to ‘look like democracy’ for the real deal. Genuine democracy had to be eliminated altogether in favor of the imperialist project we now call globalization. I’m very afraid this important and provocative book is going to be pigeon-hold as an art title and therefore missed by the politically sophisticated readers who are best positioned to interpret and extend its implications.

          1. aletheia33

            ”a huge plurality of Americans came to mistake an ideological screen that was crafted to ‘look like democracy’ for the real deal. Genuine democracy had to be eliminated altogether in favor of the imperialist project we now call globalization.”

            nicely put. back then there were some people sufficiently sophisticated to be quite aware of what was going down at the time. some of them were pursued by HUAC. all were marginalized.

            today hidden history of that period is beginning to emerge, now that so many of the actors are dead. at least now it is becoming possible to learn and understand in more detail how TPTB of the USA developed the most savage, ruthless, technology-enabled, extensive, and destructive empire the world has ever seen.

            what is so ironic is how few american citizens had/have any clue as to the real sources of the prosperity they thought they were “earning” through their own efforts alone, during that time and even unto today.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding Trump’s statement that Amazon’s decision to pull the company’s HQ2 from Long Island City is “a big loss for NYC”:

    Interesting that both the president’s statement and other pro-corporate, anti-AOC propaganda and persuasion spin we are seeing regarding Amazon’s withdrawal from its HQ2 project in NYC due to opposition to the project by residents of the city are being framed entirely in terms of financial metrics. These include the city’s projected return on investment and cash flows from increased taxes due to a projected influx of 25,000 new residents with higher paying jobs who would have displaced large numbers of current residents, NOT the effects of that influx and project development on the lives of current residents and businesses in the city. As we have seen in other large metro areas on the West Coast, the effects on a city’s residents and businesses of these developments are profound and in many cases very damaging, both economically and socially.

    IMO the real concerns underlying those expressed are the defeat by ordinary people of one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world and the pols who support them; the perception of the values and power of the company and its founder; and possible financial losses of real estate speculators and developers who bet on the project and could incur some financial losses or lost economic opportunities as a result of their speculations on Amazon’s decision.

      1. ewmayer

        Trumps NYC RE-wheeler-dealer persona and his POTUS persona appear to have conflicting interests in this case – the statement in question was made by the former, possibly without the latter’s knowledge. :)

    1. lyman alpha blob

      They’re framed in terms of bad, inaccurate, pie-in-the-sky financial metrics.

      One thing that really chaps my rear end that I haven’t seen called out much is this narrative that NYC somehow lost a net 25,000 jobs without at all taking into account how many existing (and perhaps better paying) jobs Amazon’s expansion was likely to destroy, as they and Walmart and all of these huge retailers have down everywhere they’ve set up shop for decades now.

      But credit where credit is due – perhaps the corporate types were also assuming an uptick in cardboard box manufacturing jobs so all of those people displaced by Amazon could find a new affordable place to live.

  20. Wukchumni

    We’ll be off-piste elsewhere, but if you’re a SoCal-NoCal skier in search of a spectacle on the slopes of a nice resort that has a stuck in time feel of the 1960’s, with modern lifts, etc.

    The Estonian Ski Club has formal dress day @ China Peak resort on Saturday March 9th, a 5-6 hour drive for most. They’ve got tons of snow and conditions ought to be perfect.

    If you can’t make it, here’s a view of the slanted dance floor party going downhill, on your screen:

    1. Carla

      Also, I tried to comment on the article and keep getting an error message. Guess they don’t like my comment. For the record, here it is:

      I am shocked, SHOCKED, to see the oligarchic medical-industrial complex fighting expanded, improved Medicare for All. Everything they say is a lie, including “if” “and” and “but.” The biggest lie they tell is that Medicare for All is not practical. It’s the only thing that’s practical.

      If your personal doctor does not actively support Medicare for All, find another doctor. Your physician has no interest in your health — only in his or her pocketbook.

      Also, JOIN the Physicians for a National Health Program and support them with at least your minimal $40 a year membership. They are among the very few honest brokers in this fight. I’ve belonged for years.

      1. Monty

        I am shocked, SHOCKED, to see

        “They have hired a top lieutenant in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign to spearhead the effort.”

      1. Carla

        You are most welcome, Chigal.

        BTW, my comment did finally appear on the Times site, way down on the list, but it’s there.

        Just want to share with the Commentariat part of a comment on the NYT story by David R of Toronto:

        “What I mostly know is that in my 69 years I have never seen a medical bill. I get the care I need and go home. I can’t believe that you don’t want that. The stress of worrying about being unable to pay for medical care must be overwhelming.You can do better.”

        Indeed, David R. I applaud your country in this instance, and weep for mine.

        My late husband was killed by denial of care for a pre-existing condition in 1997. That’s why I support and work for M4A.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          One of the six impossible things before breakfast that YOU have to believe, every single day, the monumental indifference that cost you something so precious. I am truly sorry.

    2. Jeff W

      Carla, thanks for the link!

      I looked through most of the (at that time) 1350+ comments and probably 90% of the comments were solidly for Medicare-for-All or against our for-profit, private insurance system. Based on their sentiments, all those commenters could easily be NC readers.

      I rather enjoyed this acerbic comment from one Mike P. of Grayslake, Illinois (which starts off quoting the article):

      The name of the coalition is intentionally nondescript, and its executive director, Lauren Crawford Shaver, who led Mrs. Clinton’s efforts in 2016 to put marginal states into play, is cagey when asked for details. She says only that the group is planning “a big nationwide effort” with grass-roots allies.

      Just once I’d like them to be forthright. “We’re going to spend unspeakable amounts of money trying to find out what people are most anxious about. Then we are going to play upon those anxieties with selective facts, mischaracterizations of data, and speculative negativism disguised as informed opinion. Then we are going to go home, pour ourselves stiff drinks, and look at pictures of our mothers, imagining how proud they are of us, what we’ve done with our lives.”

  21. Wukchumni

    How messed up are things in Venezuela?

    This was the last silver coin issued there in 1973, with a face value of 10 Bolivars, and it has just under an ounce of silver in content, and had an exchange value of around $3 U.S.

    The math is tricky with so many different episodes of hyperinflation and renaming of Bolivars, et al, but I think you’d need around 3 billion 1973 era Bolivars to equal the current $13 worth of silver it contains.

    From 10 to 3,000,000,000 in 46 years flat!

    1. Cal2

      The closest to Mexicano Beto gets, is spending his mega billionaire father-in-law’s money,
      made by using eminent domain to bulldoze barrios on the border,

      then build taxpayer funded high density developments in their place.

  22. Wukchumni

    Full steam ahead for China-Myanmar high-speed railway Asia Times (resilc)

    That’s amazing and we can’t even manage a high speed train from SF’s Chinatown to LA’s Chinatown, in the midst of being demoted from the first world in terms of getting ‘r done.

    1. Wukchumni


      Thinking down the line (fault, that is) in the wake of the always anticipated Big One that has kept us jilted ever so slightly in it’s alter of lesser quakes, how would you remake the transportation lines along the San Andreas?

      And there’s often swarms of aftershocks for years* to follow in the 3-6 range, which would stifle getting things back to ‘normal’ for awhile.

      * Christchurch has experienced 20,000+ since the 2011 quake.

      1. ewmayer

        Japan manages to safely do HSR in an earthquake-prone setting. Here in CA, given existing travel infrastructure, the economic case for HSR was really weak even before the cost estimates started ballooning by ever-increasing multiples. I’m still agog at how many decades too long it took them to do utter no-brainer regional stuff like (here in the Bay Area) extending BART to SFO. And with the recently-completed post-Loma-Prieta-quake repairs/upgrades to the Bay Bridge, not only did they manage to not create any significant number of working-class jobs stateside thanks to offshoring the steelwork to China, the miraculous cost savings that was supposed to bring also went poof along the way. I don’t know what the biggest factors in this are – consultancy/political-graft, lack of local know-how due to neoliberal offshoring of all that, what have you – but we just can’t seem to do big infrastructure anymore in the USofA. Too much expertise spent on blowing sh*t up around the globe to devote any to building stuff here at home, maybe.

  23. rd

    The Government’s Trillion-Dollar Student Loan Office Is a Train Wreck

    They appear to imply this is a problem instead of operating like intended. Lack of servicer oversight is a feature, not a bug.

  24. Wukchumni

    Bad days for the Krafts, one couldn’t get it up in earnings and was duly punished, while the other got caught in the act in a strip mall bordello.

    1. chuck roast

      The press corp members are swelling with indignation. I’d be more stimulated of they probed vice-squad entrapment.
      Anyway, there is clearly no resistance the Pats physical domination of the submissive NFL.

  25. Cal2

    “it isn’t the Education Department that collects your money each month or comes knocking when you miss a payment. Instead the government hires loan servicers with names like Navient, Nelnet and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency…”

    Probably heavy donors to “No bankruptcy for you Joe Biden”.

    I’ll bet the 45 million American student loan interest donkeys won’t vote for Biden, either in the primaries, or were he in the general election.
    Then there’s the vote to invade Iraq.

  26. Mareko 15:15

    Hello, regarding Botswana mulls lifting elephant hunting ban
    Well it’s very complicated. We have a lot of elephants in Botswana and as a resulmt the people who share living space with them are a bit stressed. Beautiful as they are, elephants are a problem for the very poor people who have to live with them. They don’t kill like hippos but they wreck everything, like little tree tornadoes.
    The former president, Ian khama, loves wildlife, and has enormous investments in Botswana’s no#1 tourist outfit, called wilderness safaris. Not that he paid anything for those investments I believe, these things flow to the righteous.
    Anyway our new president has an issue with his silver spoon animal loving predecessor (and he really should ignore his provocations) so he acts rather clumsily even though we pray his heart is in the right place. So no trophy hunting coming, like in South Africa, but poor people will be able to protect their livelihoods.
    We’re really hoping that Ian doesn’t organise a coup to save the elephants… It might happen. And elephants will have nothing to do with anything…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Are there parts of Botswana where elephants could live without disturbing people? Or is this a problem evenly sprinkled all over the whole country?

    2. anon in so cal

      We visited Botswana in August of 2012. It’s an incredibly beautiful place, with wonderful people. Herds of elephants were visible from the air, and occasionally paraded through the camps we stayed at. Hopefully, some kind of compromise is possible.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Could they not ship the excess elephants off to a country that wants to set up a breeding program to re-establish their numbers there?

      1. mareko 15:15

        Elephants are quite hard to ship rev, and they have no respect for borders. They do cohabit relatively well in Botswana, helped by the government’s policy of reimbursing farmers for losses suffered from wildlife (one of my wife’s family’s cows was recently killed by wild dogs, for example, and we received the value in recompense).
        The reason we have so many elephants is because the state functions pretty well and they are protected, There are also very few people, only 2m in a country the size of France. Unfortunately, elephants need lots of water, so they tend to want to live in the same places people do. If you come to Kasane in the north, for a look at neigbouring Mosi Wa Tunya (you might know it as Victoria Falls) you will see masses of elephants, and if you take a game drive you will see how they devastate the bush they travel through. It’s challenging, but we can be grateful that compared to some of our northern neighbours we manage to maintain an equilibrium of sorts. I’m not at all in favour of hunting and I hope that any new policy will extend no further than culling of particularly problematic animals.
        The biggest problem is the absurd prices that some people are prepared to pay for the magical properties of ivory. As a result, poachers can afford to use high end military equipment and helicopters and they completely outgun the rangers. In Bots they have to deal with the army and they are a pretty serious outfit who can’t be easily bribed. It’s a bit like the drug problem in the Americas- going after supply will never succeed while demand is unaddressed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for that reply. Sounds like a bigger problem than I thought. I suppose that you are right in that until the demand goes away, the supply will always be targeted.

  27. Tomonthebeach

    Cover for Austerity Cranks

    I read this article on Dean’s website yesterday. He makes an excellent point. The media tends to go with the flow of established “experts” ignoring experts who do not self-promote so much. Meanwhile, the American public are being hoodwinked by pundits who did not even see 2007 coming when so many of us non-economists not only saw it, but ducked for financial cover.

    Alas, how do you put a spotlight on failed economic predictions and empirically-supported accurate ones? Maybe somebody could get Rachel Meadows to do a special debate program.

  28. Darthbobber

    Paper is from 2006. Describes commercial aircraft as designed to “enter service” in 2020. Which was 14 years in the future then, but is now next year. And in fact nothing is remotely near entering service. Push back to 2040 was not to be due to aircraft design, but to infrastructure. But at this point, I think a functioning commercial prototype is no closer to being built than it was when the article was written.
    “We are living in the future
    I’ll tell you how I know.
    I read it in the paper,
    15 years ago.
    And we’re all driving rocketships,
    And talking with our minds,
    And wearing turquoise jewelry
    And standing in souplines. ” J. Prine

    1. Unna

      From the article: “In positivist philosophy, which denied free will and the intrinsic value of the individual, a rational society would be technocratic and hierarchical. Knowledge and power would be concentrated in a class of planners. As Comte’s mentor, the founder of positivism Henri de Saint-Simon, put it: ‘The government of people will be replaced by the administration of things.’”

      Each time this sort of perspective comes to the fore, it somehow is always eventually philosophically rejected, or rejected with violence, and people can breathe once again and go on with their lives.

      I sometimes wonder whether the evolutionary function of extreme and mostly very unpleasant historical discontinuities are simply a way old and decadent states of intransigent civilizational stasis (of which the above philosophy is an example?) can be wiped away in order to allow young and fresh cultural forms the room to grow in the abandoned space, thus permitting human life to proceed and flourish once again.

  29. skk

    Thank you for linking to An Honest Living by Steve Salaita

    Its by a Palestinian-American booted out of his academic non-tenured post and denied tenure because of his angry tweets when Israel was going about its murderous rampage in Gaza in 2014.
    Then he became a school bus driver. In DC. His cohort of trainees ? 90% were immigrants from the Far East, Middle East, indian subcontinent, South America. As he puts it :

    The all-American conveyance would be driven by surplus.

    There’s lots and lots there to ponder. And beautifully written.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Et tu, Bernie? Sanders shamed for joining US hawks in Venezuela regime change push”.
    This is so disappointing. Story at-

    ‘Bernie Sanders

    The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.’

    Of course people like Abby Martin, Roger Waters and Max Blumenthal call him out on this bs. Sanders has now aligned himself with Mike Pence, John Bolton, and Elliott Abrams and is OK with that.

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